West Virginia University alumna Natalie Smith joined 4-H as a 10-year-old in Hancock County, where she and her two brothers were active in 4-H, attending county camps and state 4-H camps at WVU Jacksons Mill.
I enjoyed all of my many weeks of 4-H camps,she said.I learned so much, and 4-H was a stepping stone to all of my success in life. I feel every child should have that same opportunity.
It was those fond experiences with 4-H that inspired Smith to establish the Natalie P.&Maynard H. Smith 4-H Camp Scholarship, which will benefit Hancock County 4-Hers. Once fully funded, the endowment will send youths from the county to the Older 4-H MembersConference, Alpha I or Alpha II State 4-H Camp each year.
Smith has been supporting campers in the county for several years through annual contributions, but she wanted to ensure a lasting legacy in her home county.
I have received thank you notes and pictures of the scholarship recipients,she said.I recognize many of the names. The campers who received the scholarships are probably grandchildren or great-grandchildren of my 4-H camp friends from years ago.
Smith attended WVU , earning degrees in zoology and chemistry. Following graduation, she married Maynard Smith. His career as a heavy equipment salesman brought them to their home in Harrisburg, Pa. Together they raised four sons and a daughter. She also worked with Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts while her children were growing up.
Our children were all active in scouting,Natalie Smith said.Our boys were all Eagle Scouts, and our daughter achieved high honors in Girl Scouts as well. 4-H and scouts are wonderful organizations, and every child should have reason and opportunity to belong to good, worthwhile organizations.
Youth organizations like 4-H give kids a great foundation on which to build their future, said Smith, whose mother served as her club leader.
Participation keeps kids too involved and busy with positive activities to become involved in drugs and other negatives that youth are exposed to,she said.4-H and scouting projects keep kids busy learning and interacting with activities that they will be involved in all of their lives.
Smith was very active in 4-H and won 4-H awards for sewing, costume design and canning. In addition to county and state 4-H camps, she was one of a select few West Virginia 4-Hers chosen to attend Camp Minnewanka in Michigan for three years.
Smith has been involved in many community service organizations and is an avid gardener. She has been active in garden clubs and is a master flower show judge for the Pennsylvania Federation of Garden Clubs. She continues to exhibit her own flowers and recently won the top award at the Linglestown Flower Show for a specimen iris.
Although she lives in central Pennsylvania, Smith has remained close to her West Virginia 4-H roots. She is interested in the important role that the state 4-H camp at Jacksons Mill has in the life of West Virginia 4-Hers, and she has contributed to the renovations of several cottages as well as other projects at the Mill.
I have been pleased to see all of the renovations that have been taking place at Jacksons Mill in recent years,she said.The Mill has been an important part of so many lives. It is important that it not be allowed to deteriorate.
The WVU Extension Service operates the 4-H program through local offices in every West Virginia county. Through clubs, special interest groups, camps, afterschool programs and individual projects, 4-H reaches more than 56,000�€or one in five�€West Virginia young people. They are supported by more than 7,200 adult volunteers serving as mentors.
The Smith 4-H Camp Scholarship was established through the WVU Foundation, a private nonprofit corporation that generates and provides support for WVU .