State 4-H Camp — 1936

Exhibit of 1936 photos surrounding the State 4-H SongThe photos that surround the State 4-H Song in this exhibit were taken in 1936 during the 6th Annual State 4-H Camp. In his unpublished history of Extension in Maine written in 1957, Forty Years of Extension Work in Maine: 1910 – 1950, Clarence A. Day relates, “State Leader Shibles had been dreaming for some years of a state camp and in 1931 his dream became real.” “State Leader Shibles” refers to Lester H. Shibles who served as the third Maine State 4-H Leader, 1920 – 1935.

The camp depicted in the photos is the first camp held after State 4-H leadership changed from Shibles to Kenneth C. (KC) Lovejoy. KC Lovejoy began his 4-H career as one of the first five County Extension Club Work Agents appointed in Maine. Appointed in 1928, he served as the Waldo County Extension Club Work Agent until he was promoted to State 4-H Club Leader in 1935.  Lovejoy remained in this role until 1963 making him, at 28 years, the longest serving Maine State 4-H Leader to date. Upon retirement, he chose to continue his association with Maine 4-H by volunteering as the Executive Director of the Pine Tree State 4-H Foundation (now the Maine 4-H Foundation), a role he continued to volunteer to do for another 27 years. In 2003 he was inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame. He was living in Florida when he passed away at the age of 101 in 2008. KC Lovejoy can be seen in the large photo of the 1936 camp delegates standing on the front steps of the Carnegie Library. Lovejoy is standing in the front row, seventh from the left.

Day does not record Shibles’s purpose for the camp nor does a report on the first camp held September 6 – 10, 1931 written by West Dover 4-H Member Lucile Parker that was published in the state 4-H Newsletter Club Echoes (v14, #4, p3, October 1931). However both reports describe the event’s educational content; content which aligns with content from later state 4-H Teen Conferences that focused on Leadership and Citizenship training. The State 4-H Camp can therefore be called Maine’s first State 4-H Teen Conference.

Four boys and four girls were chosen by each county to attend the camp. State leaders, county agents and 4-H Volunteers lead and staffed the camp. The camp days were filled by inspirational and motivational assemblies, learning sessions, contests, demonstrations, judging activities, and social and recreational fun. An inspirational candle-lighting ceremony closed out the event on the final evening.

Held in Lewiston in conjunction with the Maine State Fair for the first two years, the event included a 4‑H Parade through the fairgrounds and, in 1932, a dairy show featuring 31 animals exhibited by 4-H Members. Financial conditions related to the Depression, however, resulted in the event being moved to the University of Maine Orono campus in 1933. State 4-H Camp became the vehicle through which the state 4-H Style Revue and Canning Champions were chosen; these winners being sent to National 4‑H Congress in the fall.