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Monday, July 18, 2011

Girl Scout camp closing

WILTON – The Anne Jackson Memorial Girl Scout Camp, which has operated in Wilton Center since the early 1960s, will close at the end of the season and the 79-acre property will be sold.

The camp will be combined with Camp Kettleford in Bedford.

The site is one of five in the region that will be sold, said Patricia Mellor, the chief executive officer of Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains. The Swift Water Council, which oversees the Anne Jackson camp, is a part of that group.

The other camps being sold are Sunset Valley in New Hampshire, and Wapanacki, So-Ko-We-Gi and The Vermont House in Vermont.

“It was a difficult decision for the board of directors,” Mellor said of the decision, reached June 29. A letter was sent the following day to all Girl Scout personnel affected.

“We realized there was a duplication of efforts. Except for those in the Wilton area, it isn’t that much farther to Kettleford,” Mellor said.

Mellor said all net proceeds from the sale of the properties will be placed in a fund for maintaining and improving camping facilities.

Through the 1970s, the Anne Jackson camp was mainly a primitive area, with a couple of Adirondack shelters in the lower fields. The camp was used by troops in area towns for camping and training.

Swift Water Girl Scout Council undertook a gradual improvement and development of the area and by 1985 there was an established day camp under the direction of Helene Wardman, of Hancock. That year, more than 200 girls came to the two sessions from 17 towns, between Hancock and Nashua, mostly grade-school age.

A waterfront area was developed so swimming and canoeing could be offered. Prior to that, campers were transported to Goss Park for swimming lessons.

In addition to the day camp, the area is used throughout the year in good weather by area troops. Troops that have reserved space this fall will not be affected by the camp closing.