September 26, 2008

Thousands of Kentuckians have fond memories of summers spent at 4-H camp. To ensure Kentucky's youths continue to enjoy the four regional facilities, camp improvement fundraisers have been scheduled.

"The camps were built in the 1960s and have had few updates since then," said Donna Fox, 4H Youth development specialist with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture.

The 2008 Kentucky General Assembly allocated $2 million for camp improvements in the state's budget. While this is a significant amount of money, it will not be enough to make all the necessary updates. Fox has been working with Scott Smith, dean of the College of Agriculture, Jimmy Henning, associate dean for extension, and 4-H agents and camp volunteers to identify the most urgent projects.

In addition to the funds from the legislature, the Kentucky 4-H Foundation has a statewide camp improvement campaign. To date, the campaign has received nearly $300,000 in donations over the last two years. As part of the campaign, the foundation commissioned Kentucky artist John Ward to create a print of scenic views from each of the camps. Each print costs $35 plus a $10 shipping fee. Pictures of the prints and registration forms can be found on the 4-H camp Web site: http://www.ca.uky.edu/agcollege/4h/camp/improvement/index.htm.

Another fundraising event involves extension agents in 37 western Kentucky counties. They formed a camp improvement committee and created an annual fundraiser for the area camp. They will host their second West Kentucky 4-H Camp Banquet Nov. 1 at the camp. All proceeds will go toward camp improvements.

Several improvements to the facility have already been made because of last year's banquet, and the committee hopes to eventually fund additional improvements to the camp including new cabins with restrooms, a new maintenance shop, septic system and installation, renovation of the dining hall and construction of a horse arena and classroom for the horse barn.

Events at this year's banquet include a wagon tour, games, door prizes, Kids' Clover Zone, silent auction and meal. In addition to the events, participants will have the opportunity to meet and reminisce with other 4-H camp alumni. Tours begin at 4 p.m. CDT. Games start at 5 p.m., and dinner is scheduled for 6:15 p.m.

Cost to attend the banquet is $25 for adults and $12 for children, which includes dinner and a tour of the camp. Platinum sponsorship is $250 and includes four dinner tickets, sponsor gift pack and several door prize tickets. Registration forms can be picked up at county extension offices and are due by Oct. 17. Registration information should be mailed to the Todd County Extension Service, Attn.: Lee Ann McCuiston, P.O. Box 97, Elkton, KY 42220.

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