One-Time Appropriation Gives FFA Leadership Camp a New Lease

Sunday, 16 June 2024 08:14

One-Time Appropriation Gives FFA Leadership Camp a New Lease Featured

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Legislation funding much-needed renovations of the Oklahoma FFA Alumni Leadership Camp, located near Wagoner, has been signed into law.

House Bill 2927 grants a one-time $9.5 million appropriation to improve housing options at the camp and purchase maintenance equipment for the buildings and grounds. The alumni camp, which began 52 years ago, has been held at the Wagoner location for over four decades. Six other Oklahoma CareerTech student organizations utilize the property as well, but deteriorating conditions recently forced FFA to relocate its leadership event.

House Speaker Pro Tempore Kyle Hilbert, R-Bristow, is an FFA alum and former FFA camp student director who coauthored HB2927. He said the campground is synonymous with the alumni camp experience.

"This camp has been a part of the FFA experience for decades, but previously the children and grandchildren of alumni who grew up hearing about this site had no choice but to relocate," Hilbert said. "These repairs couldn't have come at a better time. Protecting that history is important, and I'm thankful this one-time appropriation will help preserve that legacy for many more generations."

Jacey Fye, executive director of the Oklahoma FFA Foundation, thanked legislators for their support.

“This will make a positive impact on Oklahoma FFA members for generations to come,” Fye said.

Oklahoma FFA Alumni Council Secretary Jarrod Johnson is a former camper who can attest to the value of the FFA leadership experience.

“Without this appropriation,” Johnson said. “A permanent home for our camp and other events would only be a dream. Rep. Hilbert made it a reality.”

Shawnee business owner Randy Gilbert serves on the board of directors and is past president of the Oklahoma FFA Foundation. He, too, is excited to see the camp renovated.

“The opportunities that mold our Oklahoma FFA students will continue to make them the best leaders in our state,” said Gilbert, who is also an FFA alum. “We appreciate the long relationship we have with the Oklahoma FFA Association."

Oklahoma FFA Alumni Advisor Kurt Murray, who has overseen the Alumni Camp for more than 20 years, said, “I’m excited about going back. The camp will be open to FFA members from all 366 chapters in all 77 Oklahoma counties.”

Murray expects it will also be used by other agricultural youth organizations, other CTSOs, church camps, corporate retreats, family reunions, and hobby or special interest groups.

The $9.5 million appropriation will be administered by the Oklahoma Department of Ag, Food and Forestry. After the renovation is complete, the campground will be owned and managed by Alumni Leadership Camp, LLC, a non-profit group wholly owned by Oklahoma FFA Alumni. The camp will operate from revenues generated through rentals and usage by public and private groups, including FFA.

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