Wilmington resident Margaret Hummel remembers a little bit about the New Hanover County Girl Scout day camp she attended 60 years ago, a wooded area next to Greenville Sound called Camp Wright.
“It was fun. You know, we did the usual crafts and went swimming in Bradley Creek,” said Hummel, who said she thinks she went to Camp Wright around 1950. “It was nice there, nice and shady, and it was just girls … I remember making lanyards.”
The use of Camp Wright by the Girl Scouts dated back to at least 1948.
“Two day camps were operated for sessions totaling five weeks – Camp Wright on Greenville sound for white scouts, three weeks; and Camp Waterview on Masonboro sound for Negro scouts, two weeks,” according to the Sunday StarNews of Feb. 5, 1949, in an article on the annual report of what was then called the Girl Scouts of the Cape Fear.
The Girl Scouts was, obviously, a segregated group at the time.
“The first Girl Scout troop for African American girls was formed in 1917, and by the 1950s, GSUSA had begun a national effort to desegregate all Girl Scout troops. In 1956, Martin Luther King Jr. described Girl Scouts as ‘a force for desegregation,’” according to www.girlscouts.org.
Camp Wright was the subject of a full page of photographs and a story on the Aug. 14, 1966, Sunday StarNews Feature Page.
“Twelve years ago a young Girl Scout stood under a wishing tree, closed her eyes into a squint and made a wish. She wished for luck in earning a merit badge in journalism. Today, she earns her living as a newspaper reporter. Sometime during the past week, over 125 other local scouts have stood under the same tree. Most of them have made a wish,” wrote staff writer Mary McGirt in the 1966 article.
She also described camp activities.
“Camp opens each day at 9:45 a.m. with a flag ceremony. From 10 a.m. to 12 noon, campers indulge in a number of planned activities. The ‘brownies’ (second and third graders) may go on a nature hike with a well-known naturalist like college instructor Jack Dermid. Junior Scouts, enrolled in the fourth, fifth or sixth grades, may hear a seashell expert like Mrs. G.H. Hamilton, identify shells prominent along local beaches.”
Junior Scouts and Brownies listened to Sgt. Bruce Riley of the U.S. Air Force talk about first aid before practicing what they learned, and Cadet scouts learned to fish and tie knots from Coast Guard officers, McGirt wrote.
“One day last week, a whole unit ran into a nest of wasps,” Betty Lauter, neighborhood chairwoman of the county, told McGirt.
“‘Boy, will they watch where they go next time,’ her daughter, Kay, a Cadet Scout added.”
It appears that the last time Camp Wright is mentioned in the context of Girl Scouts in StarNews articles, according to a search of the StarNews Google archives, is June 8, 1967. The article says another meeting of what was called “the New Hanover Neighborhood Association of Girl Scouts” was planned for Sept. 7, 1967, at Camp Wright. But it’s unclear when exactly Camp Wright stopped being used completely.
The Girl Scouts were given permission to use Camp Wright by owner Thomas H. Wright Jr. The property was later divided between the four Wright children..
Today, the Girl Scouts of New Hanover County are part of the Girl Scouts – North Carolina Coastal Pines, a merger of the Girl Scout Council of Coastal Carolina and Pines of Carolina Girl Scout Council that serves more than 32,000 girl members and nearly 10,000 adult members in 41 central and eastern North Carolina counties.
Registration for the nearest Girl Scout camp, Camp Pretty Pond in Brunswick County, opens at 12:01 a.m. Feb. 16, 2011. For more information about Girl Scouting in the Cape Fear region, visit www.nccoastalpines.org or call Debbie Todd, membership specialist, at (910) 231-0750.
Date posted: February 13, 2011
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