PRINCETON – Greenland Point Conservation Camp is up and running and children are going to have a ball this summer.
That’s the prediction of camp staff who have been working hard the past three years to make the facility a reality for upwards of 80 youngsters. The site has not been operated as a youth camp for the past two summers.
“We are up and ready and raring to go,” said Jon Speed, a member of the Greenland Point Coalition.
The camp for children ages 10-14 will run in weekly sessions starting June 18.
Activities include canoeing and water safety, swimming, fly casting, rifle instruction, safe gun handling, animal and fish identification, sailing, archery, wildlife management, woods survival, tracking, wildlife, trapping, tree identification, forest and water conservation and more. Successful completion will lead to certification in hunter and boating safety.
The Wet ‘n Wild Camp for children ages 8-12 will run for three weekly sessions beginning July 31.
Activities include canoeing, sailing, map and compass reading, papermaking, fishing, animal and fish identification and sculptures, freshwater wildlife, water safety, canoe and hockey battleship, Frisbee, golf, campouts, night walks and more.
“It doesn’t include the trapping and the archery and the shooting that the older children do, but it does introduce them to some good information about wildlife and forestry,” Speed said. There is an aquarium and a fish tank with native species inside.
There are a number of volunteers including the Penobscot Fly-Fishermen’s Association who will send people to camp each week to teach fly-fishing and fly-tying.
There are 12 log- or wood-framed cabins and a main lodge that houses the camp’s dining hall. There are three shower-bathroom facilities. “It’s going to be really fun for children,” Speed added.
It has been a tough couple of years for the camp. The University of Maine System, longtime owner of the 32 acres, which used to house a conservation camp for children, sold the property in June 2005 to the Greenland Point Coalition for $525,000. Greenland Point is on a 64-acre peninsula on Long Lake.
Thirty-two of the acres – mostly the approach to the camp – was purchased from Wagner Land Management for $140,000.
The price tag for the 32-acre lakefront property had been $400,000 in 2004 when an Eastport man signed a contract to buy it, with subdivision for lakefront homes in mind.
When he learned that the coalition was interested to keep the property operating as a camp, the purchase-and-sales agreement was transferred to the coalition.
But UMS let the agreement expire on Dec. 31, 2004, rather than honor the coalition’s intentions. The land, its lodge, bathhouse and cabins went back on the market in January 2005 for $525,000.
In addition to being a camp for children, teacher groups and others are encouraged to use the facility for retreats and workshop. It also is a great place for those involved in outdoor adventure.
Speed said that although it was short notice, any teacher who would like to introduce pupils to the camp were welcome. “They can come up and spend a day,” he said.
There are still openings in each of the programs.
The cost is $400, but some scholarships are available. “That sounds like a lot to a lot of people, but we are the cheapest camp in the state,” Speed said. A lot of community and social groups have provided scholarship. The coalition hopes to encourage more groups to sponsor youngsters.
For more information or to volunteer, contact Speed at 796-5186, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.