In the spring of 1953 Freeman Nelson drove his mail car down Taft Pond Road in Abington and as he drove past Cudjoe Corner, he noticed this lovely spot in the woods with a cabin and a pond. He went to a meeting that night and told some of the folks who were looking for a 4-H camp about the place he had seen that afternoon. When they contacted the owner, Ed Jezierski, he already had plans for the property, but having been involved in 4-H club work before, the idea of a 4-H camp appealed to him. He offered to sell the 6 acre pond, fifteen surrounding acres and a waterfront cabin that had once belonged to Congressman Horace Seely-Brown of Pomfret for $15,000.
Each of the 15 towns in the county went to work to raise the money. Through the dedication of many volunteers and the generosity of many others, the money was raised by April 1954 and the real work was about to begin. The Windham County 4-H Camp was scheduled to open in 90 days.
At this time the Windham County 4-H Foundation was incorporated. The Foundation would hold the camp in trust for the purpose of serving all youth and the community. It would remain a place for educational purposes and not for profit. Officers were 4-H leaders and friends.
In 90 days, volunteers, with the support of local businesses; granges, the Lions Club, and 4-H clubs had constructed a 40’X60’ lodge, a director’s cabin, an infirmary, 11 cabins and a staff building. A local fire company “blew” truckloads of dumped sand into the waterfront areas creating a beach and swimming area.
The night before camp opened 50 people were in the lodge making benches, tables, and finishing the kitchen. On the morning of July 1, 1954 crews were still sweeping sawdust out the back door as campers arrived, but camp was ready and it has remained open for campers for more than 56 years.
4-H horse clubs have always been popular in Windham County. In 1969 a new campaign was initiated to pay for the land and to develop the facilities necessary for this popular addition to camp. Throughout the winter, volunteers cleared land, burned brush, spread fill and helped to construct rings, barns, and a dormitory. In July 1970, 4-H Horse camp was opened for its first of 5 week –long sessions.
Our camp now encompasses 257 acres, 43 buildings, 3 ponds, a 36 horse stall barn, horse program classroom, hay room, and foundation storage space, 3 riding rings, and a dormitory. The camp is in use year round as a rental facility for weddings, business seminars, scouts, and many other community groups who take advantage of its peaceful setting and acres of land with walking trails, and a nature center. A large stone fireplace dominates one wall of the main lodge. Above the mantel there is a very telling inscription: “Dedicated to Youth through the Generosity of Many”
From the writings of Clarence Salmon. Revised 2011