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Come Celebrate With Us!

Last month, we wrote about the 90th birthday of Camp Timber Ridge as well as the 25th birthday of the History and Archives Committee. Well, next month, on December 7th, we are having a birthday celebration! The GSGATL History and Archives Committee, along with Camp Timber Ridge, is in the process of planning a joint birthday celebration and you are invited! CTR-Archives Anniversaries-page-001

There will be historical displays of Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta and Camp Timber Ridge, a walking tour of the camp, games, crafts, songs, s’mores, and lots of other goodies! Please click on the above picture for a larger view and to read more about it.

We are also looking for volunteers between now and the celebration! All school aged children are invited to attend the celebration and older girls, 6th grade and up, are invited to help out! There is a lot of planning and preparation that needs to take place between now and December 7th and this is a perfect way for Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors to earn some community service hours. Junior troops are also invited to explore the possibility of starting their Bronze Award at Camp Timber Ridge! Troops are invited to make a presentation for the birthday celebration and create and carry out a sustainable project at camp too!

Download a pdf version of our volunteer flyer or register to attend the event here! And please, if you have any questions about the event, email us at GirlScoutArchivesAtlanta@gmail.com!

Spread the word, too! We are really excited about the celebration and hope to see everyone there!

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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

1930s Cookie Season

Most folks know that nationwide, Girl Scout Cookie season has begun! Girls started going door-to-door on Friday, January 6, 2012, and will take initial orders through January 23, 2012. There are even websites and apps to help you find a local cookie booth sale. Did you know that one of our historic Councils–the Atlanta Girl Scout Council–began selling cookies in 1936?

The Atlanta Girl Scout Council sponsored its first Girl Scout cookie sale in 1936 to raise money to expand Camp Civitania. The next year, the cookie sale proceeds were used to raise money to repair flood damage at the camp.

“In Atlanta, we made them (the cookies) ourselves. We made the cookies and we took them downtown. We wrapped them in waxed paper and tied them,then took them out and sold them. This lasted several years until we hired a baker.” ~Ellen Newell Bryan, long time Girl Scout volunteer and member of the National Girl Scout Board, in an interview at age 91

Even so, under the leadership of Mrs. Charles Shepherd, the girls of the Atlanta Council sold 7,867 dozen, bringing in $500. The next year, the girls and their parents sold 11,000 dozen cookies. Eventually, the cookie sales became so successful that the girls could no longer bake the cookies themselves, and the council contracted with a series of bakers to produce them.

In 1939, the first year that the cookies were embossed with the Girl Scout insignia, the council sold 17,000 dozen cookies. Mrs. Shepherd was given the Thanks Badge, the highest honor in Girl Scouting, for her work on the cookie sale.

Happy Fourth of July!

Flag Ceremony at Camp Civitania

Happy Fourth of July from the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta Archives! This photograph of a Girl Scout flag ceremony at Camp Civitania is from the collection of Mrs. Frank Holland, first president of the Atlanta Girl Scout Council (now Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta). She created a wonderful scrapbook of photographs from the camp, documenting the beginnings of the oldest Girl Scout camp in the Atlanta Area. This campsite, founded as Camp Civitania and now known as Camp Timber Ridge, is located in Mableton, Georgia, east of Atlanta. It is also located right next to the headquarters of the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta.

Section 8 of  Scouting for Girls: Official Handbook of the Girl Scouts (1925) is entitled “What a Girl Should Know About The Flag.”  It includes a description of the flag (with 48 stars), a history of the flag, how to make and draw the flag, patriotic songs, and parade formations. There is also information on “Respect Due the Flag,” which outlines how the flag should be handled and flown.

Flag ceremonies continue to be one of the important traditions that Girl Scouts participate in today. The website of the Girl Scouts of the USA provides information about current flag ceremonies.

Camping: An Early Tradition

Camping has always been important in the Girl Scouts. In fact, in 1915 when the first Girl Scout troop was formed at Rock Spring Presbyterian Church (please see our post on Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta: Beginnings), they also camped in the woods near the church in what is now Atlanta’s Morningside neighborhood. Camp activities were patterned after the Boy Scout camps but modified to meet the needs of young women and gave the Girl Scouts the opportunity to earn badges for proficiency in homemaking, needlework, and cooking.

The camp, attended by 20 Girl Scouts, was run by the pastor’s wife, Mrs. A. Linton Johnson, who was the leader for Atlanta’s first Girl Scout troop. Both the troop and the camp were disbanded when the Johnsons moved from the area. After the Atlanta Council was organized, local Girl Scouts attended Camp Juliette Low on Lookout Mountain or Camp Highland, a YWCA camp near Atlanta. Mrs. Victor Kreigshaber and Mrs. Lee  Ashcraft headed the camping committee.

Camp Civitania Arrivals, 1928

In 1923, just two years after the formation of the Atlanta Council, 70 acres in Cobb County, near Mableton, was selected to form Camp Civitania (now Camp Timber Ridge). The land was purchased and donated by the Atlanta Civitania Club on the provision that the Council could build and run a camp.  On June 22, 1925, Camp Civitania opened for its first season. That year, an average of 35 campers each week paid a $7 fee. Food was the main expense at 50 cents per day per camper. Mrs. Frank D. Holland and Mrs. John Miller Thrower, both of whom who had attended Camp Juliette Low, ran the camp.

The camp started with an office, infirmary, nature hut, art hut, rest hut and tents, as well as Thornton Hall, the combination dining and meeting hall with a kitchen.  Arts and craft activities included making kimonos with tie-dyed borders, batik work, and printing flowers, leaves and ferns on blue print paper donated by an architectural firm. The girls used the sun to make the prints and the stream to set them.

“The girls stayed two weeks each and we always had several from orphan homes or similar institutions who paid nothing,” Mrs. Malcolm Fleming reported. (Mrs. Fleming was the chairman of camping for the council.) Volunteer college students taught diving and swimming in the swimming pool, created by damming a stream.

Why is Your Girl a Scout?

Thoughts on Scouting by Mrs. Frank Holland, 1921

To Parents of Girls:

When you are asked “Why is your girl a Scout?” what answer do you give? “Because there are Girl Scouts in 29 different Nations” or–“Because her friends are Scouts?”

You should answer: “Because Scouting is inspiring–It is is constructive. It is definite–It is democratic–It is elastic–It is practical–It is Fun.

Some say she should get this in her own home–but does she? You cannnot supply her with jolly chums as a working unit. You cannot give her merit badges to wear on her home nursing, cooking, and child nursing. In Atlanta 500 Scouts are laying the foundation of that knowledge which every father and mother would rather give their daughters than anything else in the world.

You want a fair and square “Play the Game Girl.” You cannot preach it. Girl Scouts teach it to one another. Team play, give and take in friendly competition (under trained leaders), gives a schooling for life that was never so much needed as now.

When you see a girl in a Scout uniform do not look on her as a faddist or something military.

“She is part of a mighty organization that can do more for civilization and peace than men can do with their swords.”

Mrs. Frank D. Holland, First President of the Atlanta Girl Scout Council (1921-1932)

This clipping is from her collection in the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta Archives. After turning the reins over to Mrs. Albert Adams, Mrs. Holland continued at Camp Civitania (now Camp Timber Ridge) as “camp chief.”  Three years later, the council made her “honorary commissioner for life” at the suggestion of Mrs. Arthur Harris, a member of the national board of the Girl Scouts of the USA.