WHITE LAKE — Though the agriculture industry seems to be taking some blows in federal court, one farming organization is ‘camp’-aigning for funds to expand a local site.
At Monday night’s Bladen County Board of Commissioners’ meeting, members learned of the expansion of the Future Farmers of America Camp located at White Lake.
“This is a three-step process,” North Carolina FFA Foundation Director of Development Alycia Thornton said Tuesday. “We’re planning to start construction in October after the camping season and have it ready for the summer of 2019.”
Plans call for the addition of a male bath house, as well as construction of additional female housing. While both are born out of a need, the latter is due, in large part, to the changing face of agriculture.
“The FFA camp was built in 1928, and, in 1969, women were allowed in,” Thornton explained, “so the accommodations had to evolve to house females. Now they’re evolving again, because we have more female ag teachers than we had in the past — around 50 percent of our educators are females.”
Women are also holding leadership roles in the organization, Thornton told the Commissioners. Females comprise roughly 70 percent of the Future Farmers of America leaders.
“It’s evolving, so we have to grow and change the camp,” the leader commented.
Housing for another 60 females will be added, which will bring the total to around 420 spaces for women and girls.
Total construction costs are estimated to be approximately $1 million, roughly 70 percent of which has already been raised.
“We’re trying to fundraise the last 30 percent to take the burden off of those who have already made sure we can do the buildings,” Thornton said.
Future Farmers of America is looking for private donations from individuals or companies, either of which can make donations through the North Carolina Agriculture Foundation. Donations are tax-deductible.
Thornton encouraged the community to make use of the facility, as well as to attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the new facilities. The groundbreaking service will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 1.
The oldest FFA center in the country, the White Lake site has been visited by nearly 500,000 FFA members, as well as numerous groups, organizations, and families, since its inception in 1928. Additional information on donating to the expansion can be obtained by contacting Thornton by phone at 919-513-7068 or by email at Alycia_Thronton@ncsu. edu.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or emailing email@example.com.