The North Carolina Bankers Association has contributed $100,000 to a state 4-H program that will benefit high-achieving middle-school students from low-income families.
The gift will be used for repair and renovation of the 876-acre Sertoma 4-H Center at Vade Mecum Springs near Danbury in Stokes County, said Dr. Mike Davis, state 4-H leader and assistant director of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service.
“These much-needed resources validate the quality of educational experiences offered by the 4-H Youth Development Program and the commitment of NCBA’s affiliate members to reinvesting in local communities,” Davis said.
The center is home to Camp Challenge, a nationally recognized program designed to inspire youngsters to increase their personal aspirations and develop skills in areas that workforce development research indicates are linked to future success.
“We appreciate the great work being done by 4-H in North Carolina to benefit youth in need,” said NCBA Chairman Harold Keen, president and chief executive officer of KS Bank in Kenly. “Bankers across the state are proud to partner with 4-H in this meaningful effort to assist low-resource, high-achieving middle-school students to enhance their reading, writing and speaking skills as a part of the Camp Challenge curriculum.”
Thad Woodard, NCBA president, and Robert McInnis, chairman and CEO of High Point Bank and Trust in High Point, coordinated the fund-raising drive for Camp Challenge. They previously raised funds from association affiliates to construct a new handicapped-accessible cabin at the 4-H center. NCBA members also have participated in work weekends at the camp.
Since 1995, the association’s 143 affiliate banks have sponsored the young people chosen to attend the annual Camp Challenge.
Educators in N.C. State University’s 4-H Youth Development and Agricultural and Resource Economics departments and the Humanities Extension Program plan and deliver the program. Campers learn writing skills, public speaking, conflict management, team building, entrepreneurship and personal development. They also participate in such programs as horseback riding, swimming, canoeing, environmental education, service learning projects and sports.
The North Carolina 4-H Program works with the Support Our Students middle-school program and Boys and Girls Clubs to identify program participants.