4-H Camp & Open Space

Chris Weaver chris at springbranch.net
Fri May 25 01:32:15 PDT 2001

Dear Open Space Colleagues,

I have a report from the field to share with you, and an invitation to help.

Two months ago I accepted the directorship of an 80-acre 4-H youth camp in
the Black Mountains of North Carolina, a stone's throw from the high-point
in the eastern continental US.  It is a place of extraordinary beauty -
70-year-old camp buildings set in a great diverse forest, with creeks and
meadows and at the moment a profusion of blooming mountain laurel bushes and

For my international friends, "4-H" is the youth component of the
"Cooperative Extension Service," a state-university-supported outreach
program in the United States traditionally based on agricultural research.
4-H has always stood for public hands-on learning of land-based knowledge.

Since becoming the director, I have been re-creating this 4-H camp as an
Open Space Organization.  I have facilitated a number of OS events at the
camp, and have engaged deeply in the steep learning curve of being a
designated organizational leader and OS facilitator simultaneously.  Our
emerging vision is broad and powerful - hands-on camps for children and
youth using OS principles, OS conference- and retreat-center for schools and
non-profit organizations that serve young people, and much more.

I share this introduction for two reasons.  First, I look forward to sharing
the story with this list on an ongoing basis, and I KNOW that my
participation in this list community will be of extraordinary value to the
project in the coming months and years.  Already this has been the case -
two dear list-friends have visited in the last two weeks - Joelle Lyons
Everett from Washington State and Alan Stewart from Adelaide Down Under.
Alan facilitated a "conversing cafe" at the camp last Friday night which
worked magic beyond description in our community.

Second, I am moved to share our current crisis with you.  A few weeks ago,
the state of North Carolina announced the elimination of my position and the
impending closure of the camp on June 1 due to a severe state budget
shortfall.  Due to our Open Space work since March, an extraordinary and
diverse group of supporters in the community has rallied to raise the funds
to reinstate the directorship and keep the camp open according to our new
vision.  We are more than halfway to our goal, with less than a week to go.

If you would like to know more, including how to help with our effort, I
invite you to visit the website below.

Yours in the Abundance of Open Space,


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