We read with interest and concern the comments made by Selectman Peter Collins in your April 21 edition. It seems important to correct some of the misperceptions he might have about the relationship between the Vinton Pond Improvement Association and the staff of Camp Starfish regarding the former Girl Scout camp property.
We met Deb Berman, who was at that point the director of Camp Starfish, through work with children in Boston. We supported the camp’s mission and programs professionally and financially. When we learned they were looking for permanent space (back in 2002), we told her about the vacant property on the pond. Deb and her assistant director joined our community for an annual fall clean-up, shared food and talked about their vision for the camp. For several months, we were in discussion about the scale of the camp’s work and goals — but we never “made noise” or sought to “scare them away.” Through all that time, we all shared a commitment to preserving the pond as a community treasure. Far from making noise or scaring them away, the relationship between Camp Starfish staff and Vinton Pond abutters was friendly, cooperative and inclusive.
We were surprised and disappointed when we learned months later that the camp had sold the property to Mr. Kiley and we wrote Deb about our concerns. Her response was an apology for the camp’s decision to sell without prior notice to residents on the pond. She explained that there were other financial considerations that had prevented them from fully developing their plans for this site. She expressed no concern about our relationship to the camp, as individuals or a community.
As new owners along the pond, we are deeply aware of the responsibility we all bear to preserve this resource for the town (as a water source), the state (as open space connecting two state parks) and for children as well. To quote Selectman Collins once more, “it is our bed,” and we want to help out. In fact, folks around the pond have worked for the past six months with representatives from the state to help identify matching funds through private and foundation sources. As a family, we are happy to help.
Thanks for printing this, so that other Townsend residents can better understand the history of our work with Camp Starfish and the state.
STEVEN AND LINDA BRION-MEISELS