Inspired by generations of kindness and generosity, it is our hope to create what will become a self-sustaining initiative through this fund. Our goal is to raise $150,000. It’s an ambitious goal and an important one. Our first mile-marker is to raise $20,000 by August 2023. Together, we can do hard things!
Then and Now
Camp’s history is one of humble beginnings. 4-H Camp Shankitunk opened on July 1, 1927. An open meadow of land was loaned to John A. Lennox (the 4-H Club Agent) by the Honorable John D. Clark where youth could pitch a tent. A contest was held to decide the name of the camp. The winner was to receive a free week of camp. Virginia Oestrich of Walton chose the winning name. “Shankitunk,” an indigenous word meaning “Woody Place.” Camp was two weeks and 41 4-H members attended. After the success of the first camp season, a more permanent setup for the camp was discussed. It was decided to lease ten acres of land from Mr. Clark for ten years. The rent was to be planting one hundred trees on the land each year.
Today, the program has grown to five weeks with both a day and overnight program, serving up to 700 youth per summer (before the pandemic) who reside in rustic cabins along that same meadow’s edge. 4-H Camp Shankitunk continues to follow the 4-H Mission and welcomes youth from Delaware County and beyond regardless of 4-H enrollment status.
Generosity Through the Years
There have been countless changes at camp over the years, but one thing that has remained constant is the generosity of staff, volunteers, and donors alike. Donors have played an integral role in our program’s success and continuous operation, especially during tough times. From sharing land to get started, donating flowers to landscape a rock garden near the pool in 1932, instruction for youth classes, storm clean-up and cabin rebuilding in 2003, campaigns for capital improvements, installing fun new initiatives including our traverse wall and gaga pit, and donations and project funding in recent years to adapt and reopen amidst Covid-19. We are grateful for the continued generosity of the community!
Why 4-H Camp?
Our organization represents one association within the larger Cornell Cooperative Extension system across NYS and the country. As a system, Cornell Cooperative Extension puts knowledge to work in pursuit of economic vitality, ecological sustainability, and social well-being. We bring local experience and research-based solutions together, helping New York State families and communities thrive in our rapidly changing world by providing innovative, flexible, and participant-driven programs that promote new ways of learning, thinking, and acting.
One of our services is 4-H. 4 H is a program that empowers young people with the skills necessary to lead for a lifetime. It is a research-based experience that includes mentors, hands-on projects, and meaningful leadership opportunities. Our focus is positive youth development or “PYD” which features the core concepts of competence, confidence, connection, character, caring, and contribution.
In addition to our year-round 4-H Program, we operate 4-H Camp Shankitunk, a summer camping program that serves hundreds of youth from counties across the state and beyond. 4-H Camp Shankitunk allows youth to make new friends, learn new activities, develop skills, gain independence, improve confidence, build resilience, enjoy nature, and have fun outdoors.
- Roof Repairs: With over 20 buildings at camp, there’s always something in need of a new roof.
- Shower House Upgrade: We need to repair the roof, replace windows for better ventilation, and want to expand the building to include neutral bathrooms.
- Cabin Upgrades: Several of our older cabins will need to be repaired and/or rebuilt in the coming years.
- Outdoor Teaching Center: An outdoor pagoda with a fireplace would provide much-needed space for instruction of cookery and outdoor classes on rainy days.
You can make a difference!
With every dollar you give, you are making sure that 4-H Camp Shankitunk remains in good condition and accessible to youth for generations to come. If you’re someone who believes that the future of our community is in the hands of our young leaders, please consider a gift to the fund.
Or mail your check to:
Community Foundation for South Central New York
520 Columbia Drive, Suite 100
Johnson City, New York 13790
Note Camp Shankitunk Fund in the memo
For gifts of stock or gifts other than cash, please contact foundation staff at (607) 772-6773