With the #4HCampNeedsYouNow Buckeye Funder ending Thursday, 16-year-old Matthew Swearingen has something to share.
“If alumni and friends of 4-H are reading this, I challenge each of them to think back on their fond memories of 4-H and share those memories with others,” said Matthew, a member of the Bentonville Buckeyes 4-H Club in Adams County. “4-H needs their support.”
Ohio 4-H prioritized the health of campers, staff, and volunteers during COVID-19 when all camps were canceled. As a result, camps may lose as much as 75% of this year’s revenue, and without that annual income, some camps may be unable to operate in 2021 and beyond.
#4HCampNeedsYouNow is an online fundraising campaign with the goal of raising $1.1 million to support nine 4-H camps, including Canter’s Cave in southern Ohio, Matthew’s home camp.
“That’s the camp I love. Canter's Cave is known for our hiking trails. I remember going on those hikes when I was a camper,” said Matthew, who had been looking forward to meeting campers as a third-year counselor on June 1.
Canter’s Cave offers several multi-county camps, where youth from nine different counties camp together, allowing the added benefit of meeting youth and counselors from other parts of the state. “This creates a community – a family,” said Matthew. “That’s a term we use a lot. We have a camp family. We have a lot in common and we all share Canter’s Cave.”
In addition, Matthew has camped at 4-H Camp Ohio in Licking County and served as a counselor at Ohio Military Kids (OMK) Camp at Kelleys Island 4-H Camp.
OMK is for children whose parents are in the military. “I have very fond memories of taking campers down to the beach and spending time with them at Kelleys Island.” he said. I am sure their lives have been a little different from the typical camper. We talk about missing a parent or both parents, because they have been deployed.”
Matthew hopes everyone sees the value in these camps, as he fully intends to serve as a counselor next year, if possible.“4-H is a lot of experiences and a lot of fun, and we need to help our youth,” he said. “Let’s make the best better.”
Through the first four weeks of the campaign, more than $93,000 has been raised for Ohio 4-H camps. The effort concludes on June 18.
Show your support by donating at give.osu.edu/4hcamps or establishing a larger gift through the Ohio 4-H Foundation. You can also share your support by using #4HCampNeedsYouNow on your social media pages. For details, contact Crystal Ott at firstname.lastname@example.org or 614-688-1454.
|#4HCampNeedsYouNow Campaign by camp (through week 4)|
|4-H Camp Clifton||$27,980||4-H Camp Piedmont||$6,170|
|4-H Camp Graham||$5,725||4-H Camp Whitewood||$8,725|
|4-H Camp Hervida||$1,700||Canter's Cave 4-H Camp||$4,087|
|4-H Camp Ohio||$11,795||Kelleys Island 4-H Camp||$8,606|
|4-H Camp Palmer||$14,861||Greatest Needs for 4-H Camp||$3,571|