SOUTHSIDE, WV (STL.News) West Virginia Governor Jim Justice and First Lady Cathy Justice joined West Virginia Senate President Mitch Carmichael at a ceremony today, where the Governor awarded a check in the amount of $60,000 to jumpstart much-needed upgrades to the Mason County 4-H Youth Camp’s kitchen and dining facility.
Gov. Justice presented the ceremonial check to Mason County Commissioners Tracy Doolittle, Rick Handley, and Sam Nibert during today’s event at the campsite. The grant represents the final portion of funding needed to start renovation work.
“I don’t know what we can do, as government, that’s better stuff than doing this – it’s absolutely a no-brainer,” Gov. Justice said. “If we can ever help do something extra for people, I’m all in.”
Mason County 4-H is a youth development camp that provides a fun and safe environment for children to learn leadership, citizenship, and life skills by participating in various projects and services in areas like science, health, agriculture, civic engagement, and more.
“All of the stuff you’re doing is unbelievable,” Gov. Justice said. “You’re our state’s leaders to-be. And these great people, that are teaching you all the skills and all the stuff that you have, it is the very best.”
Fundraising efforts to improve the camp’s dining hall have been underway for several years, as the facility lacked the appropriate appliances and utilities to serve food in-house. Instead, meals were being prepared at the Point Pleasant High School cafeteria by school cooks before a van, provided by the county, would make the 40-mile round trip – twice per day – to deliver the food at the campsite.
In the long-term, the kitchen upgrades made possible by Gov. Justice’s grant award will save over $18,000 in food costs over the next three years, freeing up funding to improve camp programs and projects.
Upon completion of this renovation project, Mason County 4-H Youth Camp leaders plan to expand the program, making it available to children in Putnam, Jackson, and Cabell counties.
For nearly half-a-decade now, local organizations and groups have been pooling additional funds to make this improvement project possible. Prior to today’s announcement, approximately $165,000 in cash contributions had already been made by the Mason County Commission, Mason County Clerk, Mildred Jackson Foundation, 4-H Leaders Association, and individual community members through fundraisers.
The West Virginia National Guard and Mason County Commission have also provided another $60,000-worth of services to the campsite.
4-H is one of the largest youth development programs in the United States, involving more than 6.5 million young people and 540,000 youth and adult volunteers.
Besides 4-H programs, the Mason County campsite also hosts activities for Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, church camps, youth leadership camps, and other community groups.