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Camp Pioneer to receive $239K in ARC funding

ELKINS — The Randolph County Commission voted to give 4-H Camp Pioneer some substantial help Thursday.

The Beverly complex, which is the site of the nation’s first organized 4-H Camp, has been facing tough financial circumstances the past two years because of COVID-19.

During that span, the global pandemic has led to cancellations of many events, such as camping, weddings and fairs at the multi-use recreational facility that sits on 97 acres of pristine wilderness.

“Since 4-H is part of the Randolph County Commission, where we oversee it, we are looking at helping with reimbursement of lost income that they’ve had during the pandemic,” Commissioner David Kesling said during Thursday’s commission meeting. “And we are also looking at funding a position of executive director as a county employee to help out.”

Commissioners Kesling and Chris See agreed to provide $239,000 to the camp for reimbursement of lost income. The money will be distributed over the next two years, with half going out this year and the rest in 2022.

Commission President Mark Scott was not present for Thursday’s meeting.

“We ask them to provide all of their documentation on financials, and what we come up with is $239,000 of lost income,” Kesling said. “We are looking to take that from the ARC funding, but we will divide that amount up.”

The money will come from Appalachian Regional Commission funding, which originates from program grants that are awarded to state and local agencies, governmental entities, local governing boards and nonprofit organizations.

The newly created position of executive director at Camp Pioneer will be a county position with full benefits. The starting pay for that position will be $14 per hour.

“We give (4-H) $48,000 a year from our regular budget, so in lieu of that money, we will fund the executive director position,” Kesling said. “So that would be offset. We’ve been wanting to put an executive director in place up there for years.”

Camp Pioneer offers a wide range of recreational opportunities, making it the perfect destination for summer camps, retreats, reunions, family camping, outdoor events, parties and weddings.

The camp can host large and small public and private events, as well as numerous indoor and outdoor facilities. Dakan Arena, a custom equine facility, is also located at the camp.

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