1990s at Camp Whitewood
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.
About 1990, the waterfront programs, boating and boat safety were separated from the regular swimming program to allow expansion of both programs. Interest in boating brought about the expansion of the program, coupled with the need to teach swimming and water safety. These changes were made possible through the construction of a new boathouse on the South side of the lake, a new dock, more boats, and increased staff. A new swim house was constructed and beach improvements were made in the early 1990's. These facilities make the swimming program a safer and more easily managed activity. As a goodwill activity that involved local children, swimming lessons were offered to Windsor area families. This program received good community acceptance.
Rifle and Archery Range
Rifle and archery ranges were separated to allow for expansion of both programs and to provide a safer environment for these activities. Interest in both programs on the part of the youth suggests that they are an important part of camping. Gun safety and bow and arrow safety were and continue to be essential parts of the camp educational programs.
Action Socialization Experience
Called the Action Socialization Experience (ASE), this new program was offered to provide the girls, boys, and adults with team building and decision making experiences that teach them how to live, work and relate with others. This program has been very popular with outside groups using camp.
Construction of a Day Camp Center made possible the addition of Day Camp programs that have attracted substantial numbers of local children as well as those from some distance. The center was built from materials from the old red barn on the West side of Wiswell Road along with wood cut from 4-H Camp Whitewood property. Water and restrooms were included in the facility.
Sadly, the building on the West side of Wiswell Road, called the Girls Normal School, (also used as a garage) needed some major repairs. The decision was made to tear it down to make room for a new, more convenient maintenance facility. This was completed about 1990 and provided workshop space and maintenance areas for much needed new tractors and mowing equipment.
Tragedy struck in July 1999 when the new maintenance building was destroyed by fire. Ruled as arson by the Ohio Fire Marshall's Office, the fire destroyed equipment and tools. The culprits who set this disastrous fire were not found. With the help of insurance and some volunteers, a new maintenance building was built that same year that the original one burned.
An earlier tragedy occurred when one of the most used camp buildings, the Recreation Hall, collapsed from winter snow in January of 1999. Since this building is important to camp recreational and other activities, it was soon rebuilt in 1999. Again, insurance monies were important to help cover costs.
First Energy Lodge
To make more year-round programs possible at camp, the building originally called the Craft Hall, then known as First Energy Lodge (currently Grindstone Creek Lodge and Conference Center) was renovated and winterized in the mid-1990's. Closing on the sides, adding windows, paneling and heat made the building usable during cold winter months.
Many contributions were given to Camp during the 1999 summer to help get through that difficult year. These donations included small but important items such as hammers, nails, and rakes and as large as a new tractor. Other helpful donations were made over the past 15 years that have added facilities and expanded programs.
One of the major improvements required by various governmental regulations was a new water system to replace old wells and lake water systems. Two new wells were drilled on the West side of Wiswell Road, a treatment and holding tank added, and water was piped across the road to camp facilities. Total cost was about $180,000 with assistance coming from state and county governments. This was perhaps the first time that tax dollars were used to provide camp facilities, recognition of the importance given to this camp and its programs.
During the years 1990 to 2000, many other improvements were made to camp facilities. A new boy's restroom was built and made handicap accessible. The girl's restroom was renovated and also made handicapped accessible.