Betsy-Jeff Penn 4-H Center is currently undergoing a capital campaign to raise $281,000 to address our most pressing and critical facilities and operations needs. Please consider making a donation to help us ensure the long-term sustainability of our center. Your generous support will ensure we are able to continue to achieve our mission to provide educational experiences that help develop and promote the life skills necessary for youth to become productive members of society. Our programs empower youth to gain interpersonal life skills, ecological knowledge and community awareness through experiential learning while creating a positive environment that promotes leadership, social and emotional growth for all youth.
Capital Campaign Background
Over the past few years, Betsy-Jeff Penn has experienced numerous natural disasters including severe flash flooding, hurricanes and tornadoes that have adversely impacted both our human resources and our camp infrastructure.
This began with a tornado in 2016 that occurred while 165+ campers and their 4-H Agents were on site, causing a 48-hour power outage and dozens of large trees downed around campus. The natural disasters continued with Hurricane Matthew in October of 2016 and severe flash flooding events in 2018 that resulted in not only more downed trees and flooding damage to the campus, but also claimed the life of one of the camp’s horses despite life-threatening measures taken by camp staff to save the animal. Camp suffered its most severe blow in September of 2018 when Hurricane Michael dumped over 7 inches of rain in the surroundings areas in less than two hours, causing the dam at Lake Hazel to overflow, flooding all of our maintenance sheds and causing tens of thousands of dollars-worth of maintenance equipment to be lost or inoperable. Finally, in the Spring of 2019, another tornado struck BJP with a loss of over 75 trees on the center’s 220 acres, a storm from which we are still recovering.
We fully anticipate that these kinds of natural disasters will continue and we need to be fully prepared for them. This type of severe weather seems to be “the new normal,” for camp and the Piedmont region. While we have no control over the weather, it is within our ability to plan for future storm recovery and response. The following is a list of equipment, facilities, and infrastructure that will allow us to better manage storm recovery and response, including the reduction of storm-related financial and business losses.
Capital Campaign Funding Needs In order of estimated cost, not priority
- 40’ x 80’ Maintenance/Storage Building and Office – $210,000
- Since the two maintenance and storage sheds are within the floodplain below the dam on Lake Hazel, it is critical that we construct a new maintenance and storage building and office. This will serve two purposes:
i. It will serve as a central storage location for all of our equipment and power tools out of flood zones.
i.i. It will serve as an office for our Facilities Maintenance Supervisor and our Facilities Maintenance Technician, moving them out of the Wagoner Building basement, allowing it to be re-purposed as a storm shelter for campers, students, staff and facility users.
- Commercial Grade Generator – $40,000
- Since frequent power outages result in thousands of dollars in lost food each time, it is critical that we install a commercial generator that will allow us to keep power on in the Dining Hall at camp at all times. This will power the walk-in cooler, freezer, HVAC, and still allow us to serve meals while the rest of camp is without power.
- 50” Zero-Turn Radius Mower – $21,000
- A new 50” zero-turn radius mower will replace the two old mowers lost in the flooding and will drastically reduce the time spent mowing the grass areas at camp, allowing that time to be better used for other projects and tasks.
- New Bathroom in Lower Level of Wagoner Building – $10,000
- A new bathroom constructed in the lower level of the Wagoner Building will allow campers and students to use the restroom during active tornado warnings. Currently, the only options for restroom facilities during an active event is in the upper level of the Wagoner Building, which can only be accessed outside of the building. Adding a restroom to the tornado shelter will prevent having to risk campers’ safety by transporting them outside to use the restrooms during an active tornado warning.
In conclusion, we are seeking your assistance to provide critical private funding to complete these projects, purchase this equipment, and help us ensure we are approaching storm recovery and response as proactively as possible. Your donated dollars will be combined with funding from other private, individual, corporate and foundation donors to reach our goal of $281,000 during the campaign.
Thank you for your consideration and critical investment in the future of Betsy-Jeff Penn.