N­orth Dakota Farmers Union (NDFU) broke ground today on a new youth camp facility that will be built on 19 acres of land at the Jamestown Reservoir.

NDFU President Mark Watne said the new facility will allow the organization to expand its camping program. “It’s going to be a great opportunity for us, not only in the Jamestown area but in eastern North Dakota. We’ll be able to reach more kids.”

In a typical year, the organization has 1,200 youths attend Farmers Union Camp. Watne said he expects that number to continue to grow to 2,000.

In sharing the features of the camp, Watne emphasized the construction of a state-of-the-art education room that will be built to further STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) curriculum. “We’re going to really expand in that area, so we can teach kids that come to camp about the future of technology,” he said. The facility will have a separate dormitory building, along with an indoor gymnasium and outdoor recreation.

One of the pillars of any Farmers Union Camp is the co-op store, which will have a permanent home inside the facility’s lodge. “We do a lot of training on the cooperative business model and on leadership development,” Watne said. “We’re looking for folks to be board members or future leaders of their community.”

Watne also noted Farmers Union’s investment in communities and throughout North Dakota. “We’ve spent years investing back into the state of North Dakota, and we’re really proud of that.”

The camp’s construction is targeted for completion by midsummer of 2021.