SALEM - The Oregon 4-H Conference and Education Center has completed a major facilities upgrade, following a successful $1 million fundraising effort. The center, located near Salem, just held a grand opening for its new 2,400-square-foot, two-story education center and three new camp cottages.
Kelvin Koong, Oregon State University Extension Service interim director; Sam Stern, dean of the OSU School of Education Dean; and Jim Rutledge, OSU Extension Service 4-H Youth Program leader welcomed 4-H supporters to the event and thanked donors for their contributions to the center.
The new education center will house offices and meeting room facilities and the cottages can each accommodate up to 16 overnight campers.
"The Ford Family Foundation headquartered in Roseburg donated $500,000 to the construction project," said Aaron Escobar, development director of the Oregon 4-H Youth Foundation. "People from all over Oregon contributed to raising the other half million dollars.
"This has been the most significant private fundraising effort the Oregon 4-H Youth Program has ever completed," he added.
The new education center replaces a 1920s era building that was in poor condition and in need of costly repairs. Alberta Johnston, executive director of the Oregon 4-H Youth Foundation, said the addition of the new buildings allows the 4-H center to expand natural resources educational programs and offer better accommodations to 4-Hers and other non-4-H groups that use the camp throughout the year.
"In order to make the 4-H center self-supporting, we open the camp for use by other youth and adult groups," said Johnston. "We anticipate that the new education building and cottages will keep the center busy year-round by making the camp more attractive for use during the colder and wetter months of the year."
The Oregon 4-H Conference and Education Center is located on 300 acres of forest land in the Willamette Valley eight miles northwest of Salem. The center hosts thousands of 4-H campers annually and is the premier site in the state for Oregon 4-H Youth Program natural resources education activities.
"Although the center is located in western Oregon, 4-Hers from throughout the state come here every year," said Escobar. "Thanks to the efforts of our 4-H supporters and donors, we've built a great outdoor facility that has become a key part of the statewide Oregon 4-H Youth Program."