Category Archives: Girl Scout Memories Project

The Golden Eaglet

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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<br /><a href=”http://www.ustream.tv/” style=”padding: 2px 0px 4px; width: 400px; background: #ffffff; display: block; color: #000000; font-weight: normal; font-size: 10px; text-decoration: underline; text-align: center;” target=”_blank”>Video streaming by Ustream</a>

Time Capsule Dedication

Some of the Archives Committee with Anna Maria Chavez, CEO of GSUSA

This past Tuesday was a busy one for not only the History and Archives Committee, but the whole Council. In a wonderful turn of events, the Council hosted the CEO of GSUSA, Anna Maria Chavez, at the 100th Anniversary Time Capsule Dedication and Girl Scout Day ceremonies. The committee decided to wear some of the original and replica uniforms to honor the occasion. Several attendees at the event enjoyed learning about the uniforms and the history behind them. The committee were asked several times to pose for cameras, and we happily obliged.

The first event, held at Camp Timber Ridge, began with a great talk from Anna Maria Chavez. It was great to hear her perspective and plans for the Girl Scouts. She was energetic, lively, and very committed to making Girl Scouts the best place to be for girls. Afterwards, in our chat with her, we were glad to hear that she is a history buff as well.

Linda Bishop presenting Anna Maria Chavez and Marilyn Midyette with our "Girl Scouts Make History" pin.

Afterwards, all of the event participants headed back to the Council offices for the 100th Anniversary Time Capsule dedication. The Archives committee had been working for several months with Council staff to make this the best time capsule we could possibly make. Not only were Council items and 100th GS Anniversary memorabilia included, the Council reached out to current Girl Scouts of all levels and asked them to contribute an item they thought significant.

Linda Bishop, chair of the Archives Committee presented to Anna Maria Chavez and Marilyn Midyette, CEO of Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, our “Girl Scouts Make History” pin, as our thanks and appreciation for working together with the committee. As you can see from the picture, Linda presented the pins in her traditional manner.

Pamela Nye in the 1913 blue uniform. The hat was a bit hit!

Pamela Nye gave a short speech on the importance of time capsules, and of the Archives’ role in keeping safe not only the list of items enclosed in the capsule, but the location of the capsule as well. Too many time capsules have been lost or forgotten, and we do not intend for this one to suffer that same fate. The life span of electronic records is amazingly brief, so any audio, video, or electronic records will be held in the Council Archives for safekeeping, and to be able to migrate the records to whatever the next medium will be. We also want the current Girl Scouts, adult volunteers, and interested researchers to be able to access this information. All the items that were placed inside the time capsule are either eye readable records or cloth materials that won’t break down over time. A full list of contents will be posted soon.

TaMara Powell demonstrating how the white uniform was worn.

One of the more interesting uniforms was worn by TaMara Powell. In the United States, this white uniform was only worn in the South, due to the extreme heat. It was officially recommended for use in 1920. It consisted of a white middy blouse, skirt, shoes and stockings, a black or colored tie, a khaki hat, and armband. (The light blue tie was added in 1922.)  The uniform was made of lighter weight material and was only approved for use as requested. It was never available in a catalog, but was approved for use in the Southern U.S. states, Puerto Rico, Hawai’i, Panama, and the Phillipines. [For more information about uniforms, please see the Girl Scout Collector’s Guide by Mary Degenhardt and Judith Kirsch, 2005.]

The event was a great success, and we were glad to see so many people come out and celebrate this momentous occasion. Here are a few news stories about the event.

Crackers and Cookies

Did you know that in the early 1980s, the Girl Scouts began selling crackers as well as cookies? Searching for “Girl Scout crackers” on the Internet will generally lead you to a few references of “Golden Yangles.” The cracker was triangle shaped and had a cheesy flavor. It was only sold for a couple of years, and as far as we have researched, was never sold through the Northwest Georgia Girl Scout Council (one of the historic councils of the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta). According to the memories posted in various comment sections, consumers either loved them or hated them.

However, the Northwest Georgia Girl Scout Council did sell a cracker labeled as “Sesame Wheat Crackers.” It was only sold in the 1979 and 1980 Cookie Season. The Archives has one of the cartons that the cracker boxes were shipped in, but we do not have an individual cracker box in our collection. During the 1980 season, the cost of the all the cookies (and crackers) were $1.50 per box.

Notice the FFV above the Girl Scout name, which stands for “Famous Foods of Virginia.”  The company became one of the licensed bakers for the Girl Scouts of the USA in 1937. The company is still in business under the name Interbake Foods, but is better known to the Girl Scout community as the ABC Bakers. From the company website:

Founded in 1899 in Richmond, Virginia, Interbake Foods was originally known as Southern Biscuit Works, a regional baking company that packaged its baked goods in decorative tins under the trademark of “FFV”, which stood for “Famous Foods of Virginia”. Interbake Foods was created in 1967 when George Weston merged its other US-based bakery purchases to create the Interbake name.  Under George Weston Limited, Interbake Foods grew and expanded its portfolio to include Girl Scout cookies; cookies, crackers, and specialty items for retail and contract customers.

We would love to hear from our readers and the community if you remember selling these and/or remember eating these.

Research at the Archives: Camp Scout Haven

An example of a "swap" from Scout Haven

In February of 2011, three Kennesaw Mountain High School students approached Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta for help with a school research project: the history of Camp Scout Haven. There were many parts to their project, including original sources, an interview, a research essay, a display and a formal presentation in front of a committee. The purpose of the project was to collect enough information to justify Camp Scout Haven become a historic preservation site. Some of the students’ questions included:

  • When did this camp start to be used by the Girl Scouts?
  • How often is this campsite used?
  • What are the conditions of this camp?
  • How long has Scout Haven been around?
  • What are the pros and cons of Scout Haven? (Could it be eliminated as a camp?)
  • Do you know when this home was built?
  • What is the history behind this home? (What events occurred there, who has managed it, how and why was it built)
  • Where can we find the records of this home?

Falcon's Roost Lodge at Camp Scout Haven. An ideal "first-time" camping unit in a quiet setting.

The resources we were able to provide were the Girl Scouts of Cobb County Scrapbook (1947-49); photographs of Camp Scout Haven from 1956 and 1957; personal recollections of Scout Haven, collected by Sue Belden, Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta Archivist, from Alice Harbin, Executive Director of the Cobb County Girl Scouts in 1957; camp and financial reports garnered from the Gerry Wells collection by Sue Belden; and Scout Haven-related articles from “The Council Bulletin” and council day camp brochures.

The students have promised to send us a copy of their research paper and video interview with Margaret Paschal, Archives Committee Member, and to let us know when their project will be on display later this spring.

Swaying Pines, the day use shelter at Camp Scout Haven

Scout Haven Trivia:

  • The beauty of the camp site was the main reason Alice Harbin accepted the position of Executive Director of the Cobb County Girl Scout Council in 1957.
  • The first building built at Scout Haven was the “dining hall” – the screen building later known as the summer lodge and now as part of the Swaying Pines day use area.
  • The platform tent units (Green Grove and Sunny Hill) were not completed and named until after the great merger in 1964.
  • The cost of ten days of day camp in 1966 was $9.00.
  • The tornado that came through the camp in the 1990s skipped over the lodges and huts but dropped pine trees on the tents and unit shelters; only the tent platforms survived!

Do you have memories of Camp Scout Haven you would like to share? You can post a comment here, visit our Girl Scout Memories Facebook page, or fill out the “It’s Your Story…Tell it! form on the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta website. We are all ears!

Girl Scout Memories

Juliette Gordon Low pinning the Golden Eaglet, Girl Scouts' highest honor at the time, on a Girl Scout

As Girl Scouting heads towards its 100th Birthday (March 12, 2012), the Archives of Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta is launching its own memory project. We encourage everyone to go and take a look at our group on Facebook, specifically created for this project, called Girl Scout Memories.

This is just one way that we are gathering Girl Scouts’ memories, both young and old, from all over the United States and the world. We started the discussion with these questions:

What do you remember most fondly about your Girl Scout experiences? Camping? Troop meetings with friends? A special event or trip? Best friends? Be sure to include dates and places so we can place you within our 100 years of Girl Scout Memories.

If you don’t feel comfortable sharing on Facebook, please feel free to contact the Archives to either email stories to us or to make arrangements to meet in person to learn about your Scouting experience. Think about the uniform you wore, the camps you went to and what you did there, the life-long friends you made, or the SWAPS that you still have. We have many former Girl Scouts come up to the Cookie Sale Booths in the Spring to share that they were part of Scouting with great smiles on their faces. We encourage all of you to make this memory project one of the best ones yet!