Home Local News Inaugural “Pickin’ in the Pines” Fundraiser Benefits Local 4-H Club Members

Inaugural “Pickin’ in the Pines” Fundraiser Benefits Local 4-H Club Members

Camp Millstone director Keith Russell welcomes guests at the inaugural "Pickin' in the Pines" event in Ellerbe Saturday.
Photo courtesy of C.K. Craven.

ELLERBE – If you happened to have been cruising the back roads of northern Richmond County with your windows down on the evening of Saturday, October 21, and heard the stimulating sounds of bluegrass music wafting through the pines, you were not hallucinating. 

The inaugural Pickin’ in the Pines Bluegrass and Barbecue Benefit was held at Camp Millstone outside of Ellerbe from 6 to11 p.m., it’s a fair assessment that a good time was had by all in attendance.

With no less than three distinguished bluegrass groups (The Long Gone Band, Lauren and Lane, and the Blue Highway Band) laying down the tunes, patrons and guests were treated to exhilarating entertainment while dining on generous portions of delectable barbecue and fixings.

“This event has been in the making since February of last year,” said Millstone program director Erehn Frye.  “We could have possibly done it in 2016, but we wanted it to be right and we just didn’t think we were ready then.” 

Program director Ehren Frye noted the event was a success.

Ticket sales and direct donations were more than sufficient to surpass Millstone’s self-imposed goal of $10,000, thereby allowing for the provision of scholarship monies for boys and girls who might not otherwise be able to afford attendance at any of the weekly 4-H camp sessions.   

Under the leadership and guidance of director Keith Russell, the Millstone 4-H Camp hosts hundreds of youngsters each year, but, as is true with any such operation, funding is always necessary to provide for their needs.

Thus, the purpose of Pickin’ in the Pines was provide scholarship monies to ensure that deserving kids aged five through 18 can experience the direct manifestation of the principles of the 4-H program.

As early as the late 1800’s, agricultural researchers found that, while older farmers were relatively set in their ways and thus resistant to new innovations, their children were more than ready to listen and learn. 


An ensuing connection between rural life and public education led A.B. Graham to establish what is now considered to have been the first 4-H camp in Clark County, Ohio, in 1902. 

Originally called “The Tomato Club” and then “The Corn Growing Club,” what is now known as 4-H can be indirectly attributed to Jessie Fields Shambaugh’s conceptualization of the “four H’s” (head, heart, hands, health) and his idea of the iconic four leaf clover in 1910. By 1912, all such clubs were listed under the moniker of 4-H.

The slogan of “Learn by Doing” and motto of “To Make the Best Better” have come to represent the 4-H program’s development.  The goals of developing citizenship, leadership, responsibility, and life skills through experiential learning have constituted the objective of 4-H clubs for over a century, and are now augmented and accentuated by supplemental programs focusing upon science, engineering and technology as well.

Guests set up seating in preparation for live bluegrass music at Saturday’s event.

Kim Ingold is a shining example of how 4-H can benefit toady’s youth.  A Ph.D. candidate in leadership who teaches andcoordinates a high school career studies curriculum, Ingold volunteers her time to provide professional photography services to the 4-H program. 

“It’s my way of giving back to 4-H,” Ingold says.  “It was what I learned here at Camp Millstone that led me to where I am today.”

And now, through the application of scholarship funds generated by annual Pickin’ in the Pines events, kids who would otherwise never experience the beauty and benefits of Millstone 4-H Camp will be able to replicate the paths of past 4-H’ers such as Frye and Ingold.

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