SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

July 15, 2013

Girl Scouts to sell Camp Paradise

BEVERLY — The Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts plans to sell Camp Paradise, a 12-acre camp in Beverly that has been used by Girl Scouts and other groups for decades.

The organization’s board of directors voted last month to sell the camp, as well as another site in Rowley, saying they are among the least used of its 27 properties in eastern Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Camp Paradise is located on 12 acres of wooded land off Cole Street, not far from Route 22 and Route 128.

In a letter to supporters announcing the decision, Girl Scout officials said they will make “reasonable efforts” to find buyers who will keep the sites as conservation land and allow them still to be used by Girl Scouts, “but this goal may not be achievable for both properties.”

The Girl Scouts acquired the property in 1963. It is now assessed at $1.57 million, according to city records.

Camp Paradise was once a thriving center of activity for local Girl Scouts, including overnight camping. Now the camp hosts only three or four programs a year, said Jan Goldstein, chief marketing officer for the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts.

Goldstein said Camp Paradise has just one building and is smaller than many of the organization’s other properties, some of which have multiple campground areas and ropes challenge courses.

“It doesn’t have the flexibility to run the kinds of programs we can run at some of our other properties,” Goldstein said.

Girl Scout troops can rent the camp for $50 per day or $100 per night. The rate for other nonprofit groups is $100 per day or $200 per night.

The sale of Camp Paradise is part of a nationwide trend of local Girl Scout councils selling off longtime summer camps. The Girl Scouts of the USA are facing declining membership, a drop in volunteers and a $347 million deficit in its pension plan.

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