Gladys Wasmuth Knapp can remember catching a train from Clarksburg and riding it to West Virginia University Jacksons Mill to camp or to compete in 4-H contests.
But nothing is more vivid than her memories of camping in Marshall County in a barn-like structure that lacked running water. Despite the rustic conditions, the county 4-H camping experience was one Knapp will always treasure. She made friends, had lots of fun and learned responsibility and how to get along, she said.
County 4-H camp is crucial to the development of youth,Knapp said.It helps kids build friendships that last a lifetime and gives kids a sense of belonging.
By 2010, youth in Marshall County, where Knapp grew up, will benefit from the Gladys W. Knapp Marshall County 4-H Camp Scholarship, which she recently established through the WVU Foundation.
I feel it is important to give back to the programs and the people who made a difference in your life,Knapp said.The West Virginia 4-H program and WVU Extension Service were a critical part of my development as a youth and in my growth as a professional.
This is the third fund that Knapp has established. The J.O. Knapp Memorial Scholarship, which honors her late husband, sends youth each year to Alpha camps and state and national events. The J.O.&Gladys Knapp Student Scholarship benefits college students enrolled in programs at the Davis College of Agriculture, Forestry and Consumer Sciences. She also recently contributed to the Mount Vernon Dining Hall renovations and named the J.O. Knapp Conference Room above the dining hall.
Knapp has provided annual scholarships for 4-H campers since 1966. A 4 -H member in Marshall County for 10 years, she attended county and state camps, making her first trek to Jacksons Mill when she was only 10 years old.
Born in Moundsville in 1913, Knapp earned her bachelors degree in home economics from WVU in 1935. Her experiences in 4-H helped her to choose Extension work as a career. After serving as a home demonstration agent in Mercer County for two years, she returned to her studies and earned her masters degree from Cornell University in 1938.
She then returned to WVU to become the Universitys first Extension home management specialist. After her retirement from WVU Extension Service in 1960, she served for a year as acting assistant dean, director and professor of home economics at WVU .
She married J.O. Knapp in 1956.
She served for 26 years on the West Virginia 4-H Foundations board of directors. She helped to raise funds for theRoom with a West Virginia Viewat the National 4-H Center near Washington, D.C.
Knapp is a member of the West Virginia 4-H All Stars and the West Virginia Agriculture and Forestry Hall of Fame. For her outstanding contributions to 4-H, she received the 4-H Alumni Recognition Award in 1977 and was inducted into the West Virginia 4-H Hall of Fame in 2004.
I created this Marshall County 4-H Scholarship fund to help youth attend camp, learn the life skills they need to be more productive citizens and to be a part of something that will shape their lives for years to come,Knapp said.
The gift was made through the WVU Foundation, a private nonprofit corporation that generates and provides support for West Virginia University.