National Civil Rights Camp hosted by Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta

Staff Report

Friday, August 5th, 2022

The fight for racial justice marches on and there is still much to be learned from the young men and women who fought for equality during the turbulent 1950s and 1960s. Though technology has brought changes to the role of social justice, today’s students still share the passion, commitment, and resolution to end discrimination and change the world.

Here in the cradle of the civil rights movement, Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta hosted Journey to Justice, a one-week resident camp for girls from around the country to learn about the young activists who helped launch a nationwide call to action. They visited well-known civil rights sites, spoke with leaders in Diversity, Equality, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) from the nonprofit, education, corporate, and sports sectors, and developed their own social justice voice around a topic of their interest.

Camp Timber Ridge in Mableton served as the home base as girls traveled to sites such as:

The Edmond Pettus Bridge and
The National Voting Rights Museum in Selma, AL
The National Memorial Center for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, AL
Locally, visits included:

Spelman College
The National Center for Civil and Human Rights (NCCHR)
The Atlanta History Center
The King Center
The Atlanta Dream at the Gateway Arena

“Journey to Justice takes a girl out of the classroom to experience the civil rights movement, the struggles as well as the triumphs, in an up close and personal way,” said Amy Dosik, CEO of Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta.
Twenty-four girls, chosen from a pool of applications :

walked the steps that John Lewis and others took on the Pettus Bridge
sat a model counter at the NCCHR to realistically experience the threats and intimidations at a student sit-in
were offered a poll test (view sample) at the Legacy Center which was used to deny black voter registration
visited Spelman College to learn about one of the nation’s top Historic Black Colleges and Universities and home to many women active in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)
Learned activism is often mentally, physically, and emotionally draining. Girls, with the assistance of a trained clinician, practiced Social Justice Self Care through journaling, art therapy, and yoga
Took time to relax with traditional camp activities like swimming, archery, and s'mores around a campfire
The visits were often emotional, and girls worked with facilitators when appropriate to process the information they were receiving. Some girls did not know the level of violence directed at men, women, and children. "Why do people always have to die before change starts," asked Girl Scout Tihun C. in speaking about what she learned during her visit to the National Voting Rights Museum and The Edmond Pettus Bridge.

Girls said prior to the camp, there were many things they hadn't learned about civil rights such as that youth was the backbone of the movement, including:

15-year-old Claudette Colvin who before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on an Alabama bus
Spelman student and Atlanta Girl Scout Roslyn Pope, author of An Appeal for Human Rights, which launched the student sit-in movement
The Children’s Crusade, when more than one thousand children ages 7-18 peacefully demonstrated in the streets reinvigorating the waning Birmingham movement
“The youth involvement in the civil rights movement can sometimes be overlooked,” said Dosik. “We want girls to understand their voices matter, they can enact change in their communities, and make the world a better place.”

Girl Scout Ava P. came away hopeful that Generation Z will continue to advocate for the issues important to them. "At the end of the day, we are the next generation to take on the world. It is our responsibility to get the leadership qualities to take on that task. It's important for us to stand up and stand together"

Journey to Justice is part of Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta's larger commitment to Diversity, Equality, Inclusiveness, and Accessibility. Journey to Justice is made possible in part by contributions from Omnicom Public Relations Group, Assurant, Google, and Girl Scouts of the U.S.A.