MADRID — The Iowa 4-H Foundation has put the Clover Woods Camp & Retreat Center in Madrid up for sale.
Foundation executive director, Emily Saveraid says the sale has been discussed for several years and they made the decision after doing a financial analysis. “Looking at how do we best fulfill our mission. Ultimately the decision came down to the number of 4-Her’s who were coming to the facility and weighing that against the cost,” Saveraid says. She says they averaged 528 campers in the last 10 years for the organization that has just under 100,000 participants.
Saveraid says nearly one million dollars had been spent on maintaining and operating the camp and they discussed how to better use that money, and they decided the time had come to redirect resources to more broadly support the program, while still supporting the camping program.
The camp sits on around one-thousand acres of land. “It’s divided into five villages, so each village has a main lodge and then different sleeping arrangements — cabins or bunkhouses around each lodge. Currently two of them are offline because the repairs needed to bring them back,” according to Saveraid. Saveraid says the organization is trying to adapt to the changing needs of members.
A Clover Woods cabin.
“Certainly this is not an indication that 4-H camping is not doing well or the 4-H program is not doing well,” Saveraid says. “We know that within 4-H young people have so many options of things that they can do. Lots of young people are camping just a little bit closer to home. While it is centrally located — it’s still a couple of hour drive for a lot of our young people.”
Saveraid says the money from the sale will go into an endowment. “So that really the legacy of the facility lives on. And to then use the earnings each year to go back and support program priority areas. Here in Iowa those include STEM , communication and the arts, leadership and community engagement, and healthy living,” she says.
The first portion of the camp was purchased in the 1940s from donations raised by the 4-H members who wanted to have a camp of their own to use. Saveraid says it will be tough for some to see the camp sold. “Lots of people have a lot of great memories out there meeting friends,” Saveraid says, “I’ve heard more than one story of people meeting their spouse out at 4-H camp. So, certainly an element of sadness there.” Saveraid says they believe people will support the effort to move forward and address the needs 4-H faces.
The property will be offered for sale through a sealed bid process through Peoples Company. All bids will be due on Wednesday, October 23, 2019. For more information on the sale process and to receive more information on the sale visit: www.PeoplesCompany.com