Camp in the 1940s
Extension Agents made arrangements with Mr. White for leasing the necessary land for camping activities. In February of 1940, with the assistance of a group of volunteer leaders, the four counties incorporated under the name of "Northeastern Ohio 4-H Camps, Inc." This is a non-profit corporation formed under the laws of Ohio.
Much time was spent during the late winter and early spring months finding locations for buildings and developing the overall plan for camp. After a lot of effort, the first camp was opened on July 14, 1940. The only permanent buildings were the dining hall, two pit-type toilets and the cook's cabin (now Extension staff cabin) south of Grindstone Creek. The swimming pool, which never got warm, was in Phelps Creek, in a widened area made by building a wooden plank dam. Tents were used for all sleeping quarters.
Naming the Camp
During 1941, the new camp was simply called Northeastern Ohio 4-H Camp. That same year, people in the camping area including 4-H campers, 4-H clubs, and other interested people, were asked to submit names for the camp. Many ideas were suggested with four names selected from the list and put on the ballot. Every 4-H member camping during the 1941 season voted and "Camp Whitewood" was the choice.
This proved to be appropriate. The wooded area around the camp was owned by Tom White, who had donated the original camp area. Aspen trees with white bark were common around the main lodge and another common tree in the area was the Tulip Poplar, commonly called "whitewood."
Financing Camp Facilities
Since no tax money has been used in the development of 4-H Camp Whitewood, financing was and continues to be a problem. Early funds were raised by assigning county quotas and counties raised money from tag days, bake sales, scrap drives, 4-H member contributions, and contributions from many interested individuals and organizations. Many days of volunteer labor were provided by 4-H members, parents, advisors, interested people and Extension Agents. Quantities of building materials and other supplies were also donated.
As the camp was used during early years, facility improvements were made possible through the small profits made, volunteer labor, donated materials, and contributions from 4-H and other organizations. Soon after camp was started, Tom White agreed to donate the original parcel of land upon which camp facilities were located. The surrounding lands were then made available to the camp for an annual lease of $1.00 a year to Mr. White, who in turn always gave the $1.00 back to the camp.
Swimming facilities were improved in 1942 with the building of a six-acre lake on the west side of Wiswell Road across from the main camp area. This lake was used for swimming, boating, fishing, and conservation education.
Camp Whitewood, 1940s
Excerpts are taken from the publication "Through the Years at 4-H Camp Whitewood" written by John P. Parker, Professor Emeritus Ohio State University Extension.