WHITE LAKE, NC (WECT) - Over 90 years of history fills the cabins and scenic views in this small part of the lake. The Future Farmers of America (FFA) Center is a staple in White Lake.
FFA is national youth organization that promotes and supports agricultural education. The FFA Center in White lake is the second oldest center in the country and it continues to run strong today. It has 20 buildings and can house 400 people each week during their summer program.
The mission: grow leaders, build communities, and strengthen agriculture.
“Our goal during the camp week is to provide a variety of opportunities to help students achieve that vision that the FFA offers," said Joshua Bledsoe, State Agricultural Education Leader.
Kaleb Wilson is from Columbus County and now serves as an FFA state officer. He has attended camp several times growing up.
“The FFA center is like a home away from home," said Wilson. "The relationships and opportunities that I have built here will last a lifetime.”
During a week at FFA camp, middle and high school students from around the state learn about leadership, agriculture, play sports and games and of course there’s plenty of time to have fun in the water. Besides the camp, the FFA works to be a good neighbor and business partner.
When the doors open on the site for weekends and the non-camping weeks, around 20,000 people visit with their church retreats, boy scout trips, even weddings and family reunions. During Hurricane Florence, the FFA Center in White Lake was used as headquarters for emergency services and power companies.
“Once that effort was finished, then the cleanup efforts," Bledsoe said. "We hosted a lot of people here to again, help the community.”
Since the center opened in 1928, a lot has changed. Girls have been able to attend the summer program for 50 years now and thanks to donations and help from local businesses, even more girls can attend with the new dormitory additions coming next month.
“I’m a firm believer that camp and the center and the program that we offer for the FFA members is life changing," Bledsoe said. "I’m excited that we’ll have more young people here to experience FFA at White Lake.”
The FFA Center at White Lake celebrates change, along with keeping traditions, all for the good of North Carolina.
“It’s our goal that as we grow this facility here at white lake that even more young people will be involved in FFA or even AG [agricultural] education," said Bledsoe. "It’s the number one industry in the state and FFA and AG education is the pipeline for that industry and we’re proud to provide those life changing experiences for students that will ultimately make a huge difference in this state.”
For more information on the FFA Center at White Lake and the summer camping program, visit their website.