Richmond County Daily Journal
With help from the community, the staff of Millstone 4-H Camp in Ellerbe hopes to continue a 70-year tradition of summer enrichment for children.
According to Summer Director William Terry, state budget constraints have strained staff efforts to keep Millstone’s facilities up to code - and up to par for the young campers that will occupy the camp this summer. The “to do” list is endless, and staff members have been working off the clock to complete the tasks at hand. But they could really use some help.
“At one point, (the state) was heavily considering shutting Millstone down for the summer, but (Director Gene Shutt) pushed it, and we were able to get the camp open,” said Terry, who is still recuperating from recent surgery and radiation treatment. “A lot of the staff members are pulling double shifts right now to come out and help. It’s not that bad, because what Millstone has given to us, we’re going to be able to give it to everyone else. All we see is that we’re going to do something great this summer.”
Duties range from manual labor — like basic landscaping and cleaning up the grounds— to plumbing and electrical repairs. In addition, Terry said camp supplies are going to put them out anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000.
“If we can just get some people to come out and pitch in, it would help tremendously,” said Terry. “Because for the most part, the state was going to pay for it. And now it can’t.”
The state is still providing some funding and contract repairs. A couple of local contractors have donated their services. Brothers Rembert and Derek Crawford of Hamlet have donated two life-saving devices for the pool. And an anonymous donor has agreed to match all monetary gifts from the community.
“Anyone who donates their money or time to help Millstone will be helping change the lives of all kinds of kids,” said summer Health Coordinator Jessica Irby. “They learn so much while they’re at camp, from simple personal hygiene to how to set a table and make a bed.”
Irby, who loves riding horses, has been assisting with clean-up around the stables.
“I grew up in 4-H showing horses and cattle and sheep and goats,” said Irby. “For most of these kids, the only time they ever see horses is at camp.”
“Our prices are as low as they can possibly be in order to break even and maybe make a little bit of profit,” said Terry.
Due to the current economic downturn, Millstone already lost sponsorship for its Operation Military Kids camp. That $30,000 had previously paid for 100 children of deployed soldiers to attend a week of camp - with room, board and everything else included - for $300 each.
“Nobody else would have realized, but that was a big camp for us,” said Terry.
Two week-long sessions of band camp and week-long sessions of horse camp; 4-H youth camp; target shooting sports camp; fur, fish and game camp and a half week of Cloverbud camp are still on the schedule.
“We want to make it as fun as possible for these kids,” said Head Counselor Will Speight.
“Millstone changes them forever, honestly,” said Terry. “They grow a lot in that week, and it gives them a sense of maturity and belonging.”
For more information contact William Terry at 220-4552 or 652-5905. He can also be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.