N­orth Dakota Farmers Union announced today it will break ground this fall on a new youth camp facility on 19 acres of land at the Jamestown Reservoir.

“The location and topography are perfect for what we need to have a presence in the eastern part of the state for our youth camping program,” said NDFU President Mark Watne. The organization currently owns a youth camp in western North Dakota on the Heart Butte Reservoir (Lake Tschida) near Glen Ullin. “We aren’t able to accommodate all of the youth at Heart Butte, so we’ve been forced to rent various camp facilities over the years, but that will change with this new site,” he said.

In a normal year, more than 1,200 kids attend Farmers Union Camp from June to August. “Kids in grades 3-6 and 7-12 attend three- and four-day camps, where they experience everything you’d expect at summer camp – outdoor fun in the sun and water, games, sports, dress-up nights, singing around the campfire and more,” said Bri Sorensen, NDFU education director.  “But they also gain valuable leadership and team building skills, study a specific topic such as this year’s ‘cultures around the world,’ and learn how cooperatives operate and function.”

The camp could potentially be operational by next summer, Sorensen said. Local contractors will be building a state-of-the-art lodge with an indoor gymnasium, STEM classroom, game room and co-op store, in addition to a dormitory building, storage garage, outdoor basketball and volleyball courts, softball field and other features.

“Farmers Union Camp has a rich history in our state,” noted Sorensen. “From 1937 when we held our first camp on the shores of Spiritwood Lake to now, 83 years later, we’ve had thousands of North Dakotans who have been to Farmers Union Camp. We’re hoping some will want to partner on specific elements of this facility, in terms of naming rights and donations, to give the next generation of campers an unforgettable experience.”

For more information, contact Sorensen at bsorensen@ndfu.org or 701-952-1404.