BEVERLY - Campers at the Randolph County Older 4-H Camp bid tearful goodbyes for another year Friday evening following their Council Circle Campfire and announcement of awards.
This is the 99th year for 4-H Camps in Randolph County. In 1915, the first 4-H Camp in the United States, Camp Good Luck, was held near Huttonsville.
Amanda Haller, Randolph County 4-H Extension agent, said the summer camp program gives kids the opportunity to experience and learn new things and helps them make positive memories that last a lifetime.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Beth Christian Broschart
Randolph County Older 4-H Campers play soccer, volleyball, Frisbee and croquet Friday afternoon at Camp Pioneer in Beverly. Mingo Chief Jonathan Swecker serves the ball during one of the camp’s games of friendly competition.
"Many traditions are carried on each day during camp, including Council Circle, the flag-raising and lowering ceremonies and the tribes," Haller said. "Kids learn to be more responsible by helping maintain cleanliness of the camp and their bunks."
Haller said Older Camp had about 50 participants, while Younger Camp had 75 campers.
"We offered classes in a variety of subjects, including outdoor cooking, sewing, cross stitch, golf, fishing, air rifles, shotgun and archery," Haller said. "We had guest speakers, including Jim Spears, who shared information about his military experience."
Haller said first responders met with campers, including fire fighters from the Beverly Fire Department, Randolph County EMS, the Randolph County Sheriff Office and the Huttonsville K-9 Unit.
The camp's top award, the Spirit of Camp, was given to Robert Rossler.
Other awards given Friday night were the Head H, given to Zach Shreve. The award goes to someone who uses their head, manages their resources, sets goals and is involved in critical decisions.
The Heart H award was given to Leanna High, and represents a person who can relate to others and demonstrate a caring attitude through communication and cooperation.
The Hands H award was given to Aaron New, for self-motivation and leadership as well as being a good team member.
The Health H award, given to Emily Coffman, represents a person who can manage stress and who takes responsibility for personal safety, character and positive self-esteem.
Rossler is a senior at Elkins High School and a member of the Leading Creek 4-H Club. This is his ninth year at 4-H Camp. He is a member of the Seneca tribe. He said his favorite part of camp is midnight meditation.
"I also enjoyed my Charting Class," Rossler said. "I took the class last year, but was not ready to complete the program. Charting helped me think about the answers to deep questions and helped me see other people's side in decisions."
Rossler said he served as a counselor at Randolph County Younger 4-H Camp and on committees at Older 4-H Camp.
"I enjoyed helping younger campers learning about responsibility," Rossler said. "I hope I helped show others right from wrong, but not in a harsh manner."
Rossler said being in 4-H has helped him grow and learn, and offered him great opportunities.
"I could not have met the people I have if it were not for 4-H," Rossler said.
Two 4-Hers, Elizabeth Proudfoot and Billy McCauley, earned their Charting Pins. Proudfoot asked her mother, Lynn Proudfoot, to pin her Charting Pin for her, while McCauley asked his parents, Andy and Susan McCauley, to do the honors for him Friday evening.
McCauley, a junior at Elkins High School, said 4-H Charting is a project of becoming of age.
"It taught me to be positive and to take a more positive outlook on things," McCauley said. "It changed my life completely. I now make the best of everything and in every situation."
Proudfoot said 4-H Charting helped her learn not to be afraid of her feelings, and allowed her to express those feelings.
"I learned so much through 4-H," Proudfoot said. "You don't necessarily see the growth because you are growing through it. I improved my social skills and learned to be part of a community and how to make that community
Sponsors for this year's 4-H Camp were Davis Health System, Citizens Bank of West Virginia, Ray LaMora Nationwide Insurance and the Iron Road Inn. Additional information about Randolph County 4-H is available by calling 304-636-2455.