Each year thousands of West Virginia youths and other visitors travel to West Virginia University Jackson’s Mill to participate in 4-H camps where they learn valuable leadership and mentoring skills, while forging lifelong friendships. Part of that journey includes participation in the West Virginia State 4-H Camp Council Circle, a symbolic center of spirit for campers.
For the past century, getting to the Circle has meant traversing along a wooded trail, with no direct access to the area. Through a generous donation of $100,000 from long-time 4-H and Jackson’s Mill supporter, Jack M. Tyree, campers will now travel to the Circle via the Jack M. and Helen S. Tyree Bridge.
“A bridge is a symbol of connections and progress in our lives. At Jackson’s Mill, our young people will build attitude, knowledge, and skill – important bridges with their friends, their community and their future,” Tyree said.
The bridge, named for Tyree and his late wife, Helen, will provide greater access to individuals with disabilities, allowing for a safer and more inclusive environment for all visitors to the area. Including this gift, more than $500,000 in renovations have been made to Council Circle which were supported through private philanthropy.
“Mr. Tyree has provided a generous and thoughtful gift which will enhance the Council Circle experience for our campers,” said Steven Bonanno, dean and director, West Virginia University Extension Service. “We are so grateful for his support, and hope this gift will encourage others to support important projects and programs taking place at WVU Extension and at Jackson’s Mill. We look forward to celebrating with the Tyree family upon completion of the bridge.”
The new structure also serves as a bridge to the next phase of renovations at Jackson’s Mill. In addition to Council Circle renovations, WVU Extension Service is working to secure funding for more than $2 million in future projects, upgrades and renovations at Jackson’s Mill to enhance educational and outreach opportunities for visitors.
The Tyree gift was made in conjunction with A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University. The comprehensive campaign being conducted by the WVU Foundation on behalf of the University runs through December.