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Rock Eagle 4-H Center: Conference Facilities

Founders Lodge - History

The Georgia 4-H Program began as the Boys Corn Clubs in 1904 with 105 members. By the mid 1940's, enrollment in the University of Georgia 4-H Program had grown to over 130,000 members. Bill Sutton, State 4-H Leader from 1945 until 1954, envisioned a Georgia 4-H Center where 1,000 boys and girls could enjoy a week of education and fun. In 1948 the Georgia 4-H Foundation was chartered, and funds received went to establish a State 4-H Club Center.

It was suggested by Red Smith, Putnam County Extension Agent, that Rock Eagle Park would make a good location for the center and in August of 1951, ground breaking ceremonies were held. Skilled prison labor was provided by Governor Herman Talmadge in 1952, as well as a pledge to match a state dollar for every private dollar raised.

During the early years of construction, the Georgia 4-H Foundation operated a snack bar and later a restaurant in this building where local people often ate lunch. When the 4-H Center first opened in March of 1955, the meals were prepared in this building and transported to what is now Sutton Dining Hall. As the 4-H Center began to accommodate more users, the restaurant was eventually closed.

Founders Lodge LogoThis building served as an overflow for summer campers during the 1960's and 70's. Until the early 1990's it was used for staff housing for the rapidly-growing 4-H Environmental Education program. New staff facilities were constructed and the old "Lake Lodge" (as it was called by its residents) became a storage facility. In 1996 the Georgia 4-H Program decided to renovate the old restaurant, or "Lake Lodge," to honor those who gave significant time, talent and energy to the inception, construction and early development of Rock Eagle 4-H Center.

Founders Lodge will be used by adult groups for leadership and team-building meetings as well as business retreats.

For more information or reservations, please contact Terri Camp at (706) 484-2868 or email at reagle@uga.edu.

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