4-H Alums Help Camp Clifton Get New Cabin

Jun 18, 2017 (All day)

For generations, 4-H Camp Clifton in southwestern Ohio has been making a lasting impact on the young people who attend there.

Camp Clifton is located in Greene County, on the south side of the Clifton Gorge of the Little Miami River and the John Bryan State Park. Each year, more than 1,300 4-H youth from nine area counties learn skills in responsibility, independence, teamwork and leadership, all of which contribute toward their becoming confident, caring and capable young people.

With the demand for camping experiences at a premium, a former staff building was pressed into service as a boys' cabin. Although it helped fill the gap, it was far from ideal. It was smaller than the other cabins and had since deteriorated to the point that it needed to be replaced. The camp didn't have the funds and losing even an old cabin would cost more campers the opportunity to attend.

"We always use all of our allotted camper slots, and usually have a waiting list," says Christy Leeds, 4-H Youth Development Extension Educator from Union County. "Last year we had to leave ten or eleven boys at home."

Leeds adds that although a new cabin was desperately needed, as a not-for-profit facility the camp couldn't move forward until they had their funding in hand. At that point, Leeds made an appeal to Camp Clifton alumni.

"When I saw the camp had a need, I had an idea how Farm Credit could help," says Betsy Baer, who worked at the camp as a counselor and is now a crop insurance specialist for Farm Credit Mid-America's London, Ohio office. "Farm Credit frequently invests in programs and projects that help secure the future of our rural communities and agriculture. Developing the next generation of agricultural leaders and giving them the skills to be at the forefront of our industry is part of who we are as a company."

Farm Credit's financial gift put the funding for a new boys cabin over the top. The cabin is scheduled to be dedicated June 18, and immediately after, eager campers will move in. Baer says she was glad for the opportunity to help her old camp.

"I still have relationships with friends I made at camp, including fellow Farm Credit employees Ron Burns and Ashley Weaver from the Bellefontaine and Mansfield offices," she says. "The camp also nurtured our passion for agriculture. Today's 4-Hers are the future of agriculture, and I know from experience how the things they learn at camp can follow youth through their school years, into college and their careers."

Although there were other donations to the new cabin project, Leeds says Farm Credit's donation was what ultimately made it happen.

"We're thankful for our alums who are now with Farm Credit," she says.  "When they saw our need, they really reached out to us."