Holding a legacy that stretches beyond 80 years, the Wood County 4-H Camp has played a vital role in the lives of 4-H’ers and the local community. A $500,000 fundraising initiative through the West Virginia University Foundation will provide them with the opportunity to complete a series of necessary improvements.
Jodi Smith, 4-H youth development agent for WVU Extension in Wood County, said as they look to the future of serving the community, they’re dedicated to building and maintaining a safe and modern camp property.
“About two years ago, a group of us recognized a need for improvements to our campground. The entire barn area of the campground hadn’t been updated in several years. We wanted to make sure we had updated facilities to be able to host any event,” Smith said.
Larry Bargeloh, President of the Wood County 4-H Camp Trustees, said there is a plan to complete a series of structure updates — including building a new hog barn, upgrading the HVAC systems, improving electric and lighting across the property, and improving accessibility for all community members to experience camp.
“Our camp celebrated its 80-year anniversary in 2019, and this will allow us to provide educational programming beyond the summer months,” Bargeloh said. “We are making improvements to the 4-H campgrounds for future 4-H and FFA exhibitors, campers and the community.”
Linda Dearth, president of the Wood County 4-H Leaders’ Association said the camp has a long history of acting as a venue to not only 4-H’ers, but the entire community.
“I joined this fundraising initiative because our 4-H camp is a place for kids to feel like they belong in this world. I grew up in the program and so did my family. These upgrades will ensure we can provide memories and positive experiences for youths and the community for years to come,” Dearth said.
Smith said the costs for the project are estimated to be $400,000. She said they hope to raise additional funds for a quasi-endowment to ensure a long-term funding stream for future camp maintenance. Donations can be online via the WVU Foundation.
To date, the fundraising initiative has raised a total of $222,350. Lead donors include the Ross Foundation; the Bernard McDonough Foundation; the Esbenshade Advised Fund/Spartan Foundation/Tri-State Roofing and Sheet Metal Company; the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation and other generous individual donors.
These gifts were made through the WVU Foundation, the non-profit organization that solicits and administers private support on behalf of the University. To learn more about supporting WVU Extension programs, contact Lauren Seiler at 304-293-5692.
To learn more about WVU Extension programs, visit extension.wvu.edu, or contact your local WVU Extension office. Keep up with the latest in WVU Extension news on Facebook and Twitter by following @WVUExtension.
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