Governor launches 4-H campaign
By Mary Ann Johnson
Spectrum Volume 21 Issue 01 - August 27, 1998
Saying that he had made education a hallmark of his administration, Governor James Gilmore helped kick off a capital fund-raising campaign and groundbreaking at the Smith Mountain Lake 4-H Educational Center last week.
"I'm going to continue to find new and better ways to offer foundations of learning and a 4-H center like this that serves so many kids, I think is a big asset to this state. I'm very proud of it," Gilmore said.
"Smith Mountain Lake 4-H center is a great example of how a community can come together to provide children quality educational opportunities," Gilmore said.
Gilmore's remarks came as the center kicked off a $5-million capital campaign, which, it was announced, had already generated $3.8 million. The Smith Mountain Lake Center is one of six facilities across Virginia that give 4-H youth the opportunity to participate in a variety of recreational and educational experiences. 4-H is the youth program of Virginia Cooperative Extension, which is a part of Virginia Tech and Virginia State universities. There are more than 117,000 4-H'ers and about 10,000 adult volunteer leaders in the state.
The three-year capital campaign announced at the event is the largest in the 32-year history of the 4-H center. It will support the development of several projects, William Skelton, dean emeritus of Virginia Cooperative Extension at Virginia Tech, said. Skelton, a member of the center's board, is heading the campaign steering committee.
A $1.2-million gift from the JOCO Foundation will be used toward the new lodges and conference center. Through the support of the JOCO Foundation trustees and others, two new barrier-free lodges and a two-level conference center will be constructed.
"We anticipate that with the new lodges, the center will be able to accommodate another 900 or more youth during the summer camping season," Skelton said.