Donors want youth to experience 4-H camp

Farm Forum

Attending a 4-H camp can make a long-lasting impression. Just ask Lynn Moser, president of Inland Oil and Gas Corp. in Bismarck, N.D.

“I have personal memories there of the adventures I had at horse camp,” she says.

That experience is one reason Inland Oil and Gas donated $25,000 toward the $1.9 million renovation and construction project planned for the 84-acre North Dakota 4-H Camp near Washburn, N.D. The camp was established in 1967 along the banks of the Missouri River near historic Fort Mandan, N.D.

“I decided to make the contribution because there was an

obvious need to improve the camping facilities to continue exposing youth to lifetime skills they may not otherwise get an opportunity to develop,” Moser says. “My two daughters attended the camp, and they, too, felt we should give back so that future campers could have the same growing experiences.

“We all know that horses and livestock and a fun away-from-home experience attracts kids” she adds. “What the kids don’t realize is that after attending camp, they then start down that path to further skill-building activities, such as horse judging, GPS, consumer choices judging, leadership and livestock judging.”

Dennis Ming, vice president of Dakota, Missouri Valley & Western (DMVW) Railroad in Bismarck, says his experience in 4-H in Slope County as a youth, plus the fact that his wife, Maureen, is chair of the North Dakota 4-H Foundation board of directors and his father-in-law was a North Dakota State University Extension Service county agent who was very involved in 4-H, contributed to DMVW’s decision to donate $25,000 to the improvements at the North Dakota 4-H Camp.

“We support youth activities, and we think 4-H is a very good youth activity,” Ming says. “We think it is a very good project they are doing at the 4-H camp.”

The $1.9 million project involves renovating camp facilities, including major upgrades to the three cabins and dining hall improvements, expanding outdoor camp opportunities and constructing a multipurpose 4-H center that will be named in honor of Myron D. Johnsrud, a Watford City area native who served as NDSU Extension Service director from 1974 to 1986.

The camp began as the Western North Dakota 4-H Camp, one of two regional 4-H camps. Now it is the sole statewide 4-H camp facility.

Half of the funding for the renovation and construction project is in the Extension Service’s 2013-15 budget approved by the Legislature and governor. The other $950,000 is from individuals, organizations and corporations through the North Dakota 4-H Foundation’s Shape a New Destiny campaign.

Other donors at the $25,000 level are North Dakota Farm Credit Services, Starion Financial and TransCanada.

“Farm Credit Services is proud to serve rural communities,” says Becky Peterson, director of marketing and services at Farm Credit Services of Mandan. “That’s why Farm Credit is actively involved with 4-H locally, statewide and at the national level. Whether it’s through premium purchases, staff volunteers, meal or award sponsorships, Farm Credit’s support, along with countless volunteers, helps provide learning experiences for rural youth. These hands-on 4-H experiences are the foundation for today’s youth to become future agricultural producers and leaders.”

Mike O’Keeffe, chief executive officer of Farm Credit Services of Mandan, says, “We continue to support annual 4-H programs throughout our territories but felt this was a special request that deserved additional funds to provide rural youth a quality educational experience.”

Research shows that a 4-H camp experience has a positive impact on the participants’ social, personal and educational growth, as well as increasing awareness of environmental issues and interest in the outdoors, developing leadership skills and influencing career decisions.

“My years in 4-H taught me how to problem solve, but also to seek advice from others so I can make an informed decision,” says Jim Peterson, Starion Financial market president in Dunseith, Rolla and Bottineau. “I carry this trait with me today and credit this concept for much of my success. The new Johnsrud 4-H Center and camp renovations will ensure that our youth are given the opportunity to learn these same skills.”

Each year, the North Dakota 4-H Camp is host to about 20 camps offering experiences such as Dutch oven cooking, archery, horseback riding, hiking, canoeing, livestock grooming, water and mud obstacle courses, exploring nature, and arts and crafts.

“TransCanada has been a supporter of communities in North Dakota for more than 30 years and believes that supporting organizations such as 4-H clubs and other agricultural organizations is important in developing the leaders of tomorrow,” says Alex Pourbaix, president of energy and oil pipelines for TransCanada Corp. “TransCanada has assets in North Dakota (Northern Border Pipeline, Bison and Keystone) and we are committed to building healthy, safe and vibrant communities where our employees live and work.”

NDSU Center for 4-H Youth Development chair Brad Cogdill says, “Thanks to the support of our political leaders and private donors such as these, we will be able to enhance the camp’s learning environment, increase its capacity to accommodate larger youth groups, provide access to people of all abilities, and ensure a sustainable, environmentally responsible camp program.”

For more information on how to help support the state’s 4-H program, visit the North Dakota 4-H Foundation’s website at, send an email to or call (701) 231-7251.