Former 4-H Member Speaks Out

(03/30/2002)

Dear Editor, Having been a 4-H'er from age thirteen through my sophomore year in college, I have to just put in my two bits. Firstly, did you know that the first 4-H camp ever was held in WV? Indeed, Camp Good Luck in (I believe) Randolph County, many many moons (oops, probably shouldn't use that!) ago. And years ago, as I was serving as a "helper" to the WV Belles during the Folk Festival here in Glenville, I met a delightful little old lady who told me about her first 4-H camping experience at Jackson's Mill. There was one building, they swam in the river, and every child had to bring his or her own live chicken to be killed and cooked during the week. My, how times have changed.

To hear that things are being dismantled makes me sad. And I can see the Native Americans' point, I guess. But it's such a positive thing, 4-H camp, and Council Circle is the absolute heart of it. The competition among the tribes is healthy and happy and I, as someone who took part in it for many years, cannot for the life of me see why it can't be viewed for the absolutely wonderfully positive thing that it is.

As an adult, I can tell you that only last summer, I had a conversation with a fellow camper from years ago. We still identified ourselves as "Delaware's" and "Seneca's" and the evening was spent exchanging fond memories of our times together at camp. Is that such a bad thing?

Keep up the good work,

Shelly Allen