Category Archives: Georgia

Camp Timber Ridge Turns 90!

2014 marks the 90th birthday of Camp Timber Ridge in Mableton, GA! Now, that’s a lot of camping!

penelope the turtle

In October of 1924, the Civitan Club of Atlanta deeded 39.5 acres of land in Mableton, 12 miles west of today’s Metro Atlanta, to the Girl Scouts of Atlanta and then in November of that same year an elaborate opening ceremony was held. The establishment of the camp was largely due to the help of Mrs. Albert Thornton, who gifted $1,000 (big money back then!) for a central dining hall and recreation hall to be built on the property. The first camping season was in the summer of 1925 between June 22 and August 8 and the original buildings on the site included the office, infirmary, nature hut, art hut, rest hut, and of course, the tents!

circa 1920s Thornton Hall, named for Mrs. Albert Thornton

circa 1920s Thornton Hall, named for Mrs. Albert Thornton

Camp Civitania was renamed Timber Ridge in 1953 and then in 1971 the Timber Ridge Environmental Center was born. The Timber Ridge Environmental Center, known as TREC, was made up of 30 acres of wooded land, designed to teach about the history of the land as well as its use and to demonstrate natural forces at work.

Camp Civitania 1936

Camp Civitania 1936

Camp Timber Ridge has grown over the years and now consists of over 220 acres of wooded land (both hardwood and pine forests), natural streams and even a bamboo forest! During the summer, girls can choose between day camps or sleepaway camps, platform tents or cabins. Troops can also reserve a campsite at any time during the year for a troop bonding weekend!

Today, Camp Timber Ridge remains one of the largest girls’ camps in the South still in operation!

Timber Ridge 1969

Camp Timber Ridge 1969

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Happy Labor Day, Everyone!

Labor Day was celebrated for the first time in New York City in 1882. It began as a state holiday, getting voted in by individual states, but gained popularity and was voted a national holiday by Congress in 1894.

Modern day Girl Scout parade float

Modern day Girl Scout parade float

Labor Day celebrates the achievements of the American work force with a national day off on the first Monday in September.

A time for relaxation with family and friends, Labor Day is a popular time for special events and festivals throughout the country such as cooking out, camping, and parades!

Girl Scout float, Randolph County, Ga. parade: 1958

Girl Scout float, Randolph County, Ga. parade: 1958

Labor Day is also a chance to bid farewell to summer with a long weekend, sometimes spent camping or swimming. Pictured below are Girl Scouts all decked out in their 1920s era bathing costumes, a far cry from the bathing suits of today!

Waycross, Ware County, Ga. 1923 at Girl Scout Hut

Waycross, Ware County, Ga. 1923 at Girl Scout Hut

What are your plans this Labor Day weekend? Here in the Greater Atlanta Area there are tons of events and festivals happening all weekend long. Click here to browse some of the activities that are going on, and keep your eye our for Girl Scouts while you’re out and about!

Remembering District V

Ms. Dews, Rhonda B, and TaMara P

1940’s Camping gear

District V with friends and vintage coke bottles.

What a nostalgic setting to remember District V and honor their field representative,
Ms. Phyllis Dews. The Archives/History committee prepared the Sunday afternoon Tea at the Auburn Avenue Research library in Downtown Atlanta. The Tea’s location was significant to the troop’s beginnings. Their second office was only four buildings down at 143 1/2 Auburn Avenue in 1945 on the second floor of the former Poinciana club. Music from the by-gone era played softly, Billie Holiday’s “God Bless the child,” Jackie Wilson’s “Lonely Teardrops,” and Martha & the Vandellas’ “Quicksand” to name a few. Round tables draped with white linen with whimsical retro Girl Scout centerpieces decorated the intimate affair. When the honored guest arrived, everyone stood and applauded. As she took her seat, she said, you all have really done it.

The celebration continued to the next phase onto the third floor for the Community panel discussion, which was open to the public. A second installment of “The District V” exhibit greeted visitors in the room: vintage Girl Scouts Handbooks, Camping Gear, Black and White snapshots including a Girl Scouts founder, Juliette “Daisy” Low portrait. Campfire songs and a short silent video featuring Bazoline Usher played as people filled the room. There was not an empty seat.

The introductions were given by the library programs director, Morris Gardner. Short presentations given by the Greater Atlanta Girl Scout council, Brenda S. and Archives/History committee, Linda B.
The three member panel included former scouts, Dr. Roslyn Pope, Mrs. Celestine Bray Bottoms, and Ms. Phyllis Dews. Senior Ambassador Scout of Troop 1368, Arianna served as moderator for the discussion. Each panel member answered questions on camping, cookie sales, and obstacles being the first black troops in Atlanta.
Ms. Dews explained the challenges of the times. She described how on first her camping experience with 50 scouts at Camp J.K. Orr in Lovejoy, they were confronted by a rogue group of white men with guns asking where was the integrated campgrounds. Their camp director was white. The men escorted her off the grounds. Ms. Dews said she pondered all through the night about the camp director’s well being and how she had promised the scouts’ parents their daughters would be safe.
Mrs. Bottoms candidly remembered hayrides and a traditional camping treat. She explained I was a city girl and had never been on a hayride. She added we made S’mores with Oh, Henry candy bars. “Our S’mores had nuts,” she exclaimed.
Dr. Pope described how she became Georgia’s Girl Scouts All State camper in 1953. I don’t think Alaska and Hawaii were states at the time she began. But she went to say everyone marveled how I represented Georgia, the only Negro at the All States event in Wyoming.
A young former scout asked did you all sell cookies like we do now. The three answered no. But their fellow scout sitting in the audience said,”Yes, we sold cookies.” She also named every member from their troop.
In closing we pinned each panel guest with a 100 year Girl Scout pin given by council and awarded them a certificate of appreciation from the “Friends of the Auburn Ave Library.” Girl Scout council member, Mary F. removed her very own Girl Scout scarf that she wore to give to Ms. Dews – Girl Scout sisterhood.

If you would like the view the first installment of “The Lives of District V : The untold story of Atlanta ‘s first African-American Girl Scout Troops,” please visit the Greater Atlanta Girl Scouts Headquarters at 1560 N. Allen Rd. in Mableton from 10 – 6 pm Monday – Friday.
We thank “The Atlanta Daily World” for covering District V. Without their reporting; District V’s story would truly be untold.

Link to the video stream of discussion.

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World Thinking Day 2012

Happy World Thinking Day! Today is the day when we celebrate girl scouting all over the world. From the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts website:

Today, WAGGGS wishes ‘happy World Thinking Day’ to all Girl Guides and Girl Scouts! Up to 10 million girls in 145 countries around the world are spending today reflecting on their international friendships, thinking about the environment, and raising money for the World Thinking Day Fund.

Two international patches from our collection

In 1992, the Northwest Georgia Girl Scout Council (one of our historic councils) reached out to the Republic of Georgia to bring Girl Scouting to that country. Many of our current Archives volunteers such as Sue Belden and Gigi Baroco were involved with this initiative.  We are proud to have been part of this effort to introduce more girls to scouting. You can read more about the Georgian Girl Scouts on the WAGGGS website.

Cadettes Visit Archives

Troop 1941 with Sue Belden, Archivist

On Sunday, December 4, 2011, a few Cadette Girl Scouts from Duluth Troop 1941 visited the Archives of the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta. The troop is learning how to curate an exhibit as part of a service project in their community. They meet at the historic Strickland House in Duluth, Georgia, the home of the Duluth Historical Society. In exchange for meeting space, the girls of the troop perform regular service projects to help the house and the Society. In honor of the upcoming 100th anniversary of Girl Scouting, the girls wanted to create an exhibit to highlight the history of Girl Scouting in Duluth, Georgia, and Gwinnett County (where Duluth is located).

Sue Belden, Volunteer Archivist at the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, met the girls to show them various artifacts that they might use in their exhibit. The girls were most interested in the vintage uniforms, and enjoyed listening to Sue explain the details of the insignia. They also viewed handbooks, scrapbooks, magazines, dolls, posters, pictures, and patches. The girls asked many questions about the collection, and settled on eleven items to borrow on loan for the Duluth Historical Society exhibit.

As part of the plans for the exhibit, the girls will be assembling at least 100 items to display, and include at least 100 facts about Girl Scouts. The other items in the exhibit will be collected from Duluth-area troops. The girls also want to collect more information from individual troops, so with the help of the History/Archives Committee, they have created a Troop History Questionnaire.  You can help their work and the work of the Council Archives by downloading this form and documenting your troop’s history.

The exhibit will be on display from February through April 2012, at the Strickland House and at the Duluth City Hall. Troop 1941 invites you to come and see it!