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  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Angry Is This Something Really New Or Just One Of Those Things No One Talked About Before?

    Just wondering if kids and bad news like this is something that has been "hidden" all along or something that is realtively new????

    4-H Camp Counselors Accused Of Organizing Fights Between Campers

    POSTED: 4:01 p.m. EDT July 8, 2003

    ROANOKE, Va. -- Sheriff's officers are investigating allegations that counselors at a 4-H summer camp arranged fistfights between children ages 9 to 13, charged admission to the brawls and allowed betting.

    Franklin County Sheriff Quint Overton said Tuesday that the youngsters were told to lie to parents about the fights after several campers suffered black eyes and one broke his hand.

    No charges have been filed, but Overton said he had six officers investigating the five-day camp that began June 30 at the Smith Mountain Lake 4-H Educational Conference Center.

    "It's hard to believe anyone would do this," Overton said. He said he heard that campers were charged $1 for admission, and that the counselors and children could bet up to $4 per fight.

    The sheriff said he had talked to several parents since the first complaint came in Monday from Richard Rawls, who said his 10-year-old son came home with a black eye. Rawls said his son claimed at first that he had been hit by a basketball.

    "They pitted these kids against each other like a damn cockfight," Rawls said.

    Rawls said his son was forced to defend himself five times during the week. He won the first four fights, but was knocked out the fifth time.

    "He's OK now, I guess. He's been crying, and he told me today he wants to go to the doctor," Rawls said.

    While girls attended the camp, the sheriff said the fights involved only boys. Boys who did not want to participate were confined to their cabins, Overton said.

    About 300 children attended the camp last week at Smith Mountain Lake. It was organized by the Bedford County chapter of the Virginia Cooperative Extension.

    The camp was supervised by teen counselors, 14 to 18 years old, and adult counselors, 19 and older. Four teens and two adults were in charge of the lodge where the fights allegedly occurred, said Charlie Stott, spokesman for Virginia Cooperative Extension.

    If the accusations prove true, Stott said, "it's certainly an isolated incident."

    Calls to the national 4-H headquarters were referred to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the 4-H. A USDA spokeswoman did not immediately return a call.

    Smith Mountain Lake is one of six 4-H camps in Virginia with activities ranging from rifle marksmanship and archery to computer science, journalism and the performing arts. They serve more than 26,000 campers every year.

    Camp counselors generally come from local 4-H chapters and are mostly volunteers, who must have 24 hours of training on working with young people and emergency procedures, Stott said. The camps also have a full-time paid staff member.

    The 4-H program was founded to educate children in home economics and agriculture, but today more than half of the participants are from cities and suburbs. Youngsters pledge their head, heart, hands and health -- hence, 4-H -- to such goals as loyalty, clearer thinking, community service and better living.

    Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved

    {Not strange enough? Read more strange news from WFTV.com.}
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  2. #2
    Temporarily/No Longer Active EoneTiller's Avatar
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    must be an anger managment camp.

  3. #3
    Forum Member RyanEMVFD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is This Something Really New Or Just One Of Those Things No One Talked About Before?

    Originally posted by MalahatTwo7
    Youngsters pledge their head, heart, hands and health
    [/color] [/B]

    and wallets....
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  4. #4
    MembersZone Subscriber N2DFire's Avatar
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    I think that this is the first time I've ever been ashamed to make a post here, but this happened in MY county. The 4-H camp is on the opposite end of the county from where I am, but still . . .


    Unfortunately what you've read above is pretty much all that's known right now. As you can imagine everyone involved is being very tight lipped about everything.

    If I happen to hear anything else in the news I'll be sure to pass it along.

    I must say this is NOT how I want to see my home county in the news.
    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless
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  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    ND, thanks for letting us in on the "Up County" info... However, I am sorry to hear that it is in your area; no one wishes for that.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber N2DFire's Avatar
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    Story update from the Roanoke Times

    Family has spoken to CNN, 'Inside Edition'
    Incident at 4-H camp prompts media blitz

    Richard and Poppy Rawls allege that teenage volunteer counselors arranged fights at the Franklin County camp.

    By MIKE ALLEN
    THE ROANOKE TIMES

    Outraged that their 10-year-old son came back from a Franklin County 4-H camp with a black eye and a concussion - injuries he said came from fistfights arranged and encouraged by camp counselors - Richard and Poppy Rawls went public Monday with allegations that many found mind-boggling.

    Three days later, the Forest family's lives had been turned upside down. Their account of teenage counselors charging admission to and taking bets on fights between young boys sparked a police investigation and touched off a national media frenzy.

    Their voicemail boxes keep filling with requests for interviews from national media outlets. But the people the Rawlses really want to hear from - officials with 4-H - haven't called.

    Richard Rawls said he wants to know what changes 4-H will make to keep what he says happened to his son from happening again. "I would hope that those things can occur without filing a lawsuit."

    Scott Baker, Bedford County office director of the Virginia Cooperative Extension, sent letters Tuesday to five teenage camp counselors and two adult chaperones in the Bedford 4-H club, barring them from all 4-H activities until the Franklin County Sheriff's Office concludes its investigation into the allegations.

    The counselors and chaperones who received the letter had stayed last week in the lodge at the Smith Mountain Lake 4-H Educational Center where the fights allegedly took place, said Virginia Tech spokesman Charlie Stott. "We think that's both for their protection and for ours," Stott said of the ban.

    Virginia Tech oversees the Virginia Cooperative Extension, which in turn oversees all Virginia 4-H programs. Stott said other 4-H clubs have been told to increase their diligence. "We will not tolerate this sort of things going on."

    Virginia Tech is also investigating the allegations to see whether all proper procedures were followed and if any 4-H policies need to change.

    "4-H is about developing young people. We take that very seriously," Stott said. "If something happens that seems to jeopardize that, it's contrary to everything we're about."

    Though clubs from both Bedford and Halifax counties stayed at the center last week, Franklin County authorities have interviewed only Bedford County families about the allegations.

    Wednesday, Franklin County Sheriff Quint Overton said that of 25 children interviewed, 15 substantiated the Rawlses' allegations, telling police they saw or participated in the arranged fights. One 11-year-old Bedford County boy told investigators he broke his hand in one of the fights.

    The Rawlses allege their son, D.J., was involved in five fights arranged by counselors and was knocked unconscious in the final fight. The counselors told him and other children to lie about how he got his black eye by saying he was hit by a basketball, the Rawlses say.

    Authorities have taken great pains to say that the allegations are against volunteers who were camping at the center last week, not center employees.

    Richard Rawls said he'd rather see 4-H make policy changes than see criminal charges pressed. "I'm not all about 'let's go after them and ruin their life forever,'" he said. "Maybe the counselors weren't as mature as they could have been."

    Investigators will turn their findings over to Franklin County Commonwealth's Attorney Cliff Hapgood to see whether any criminal charges are warranted. If so, one expert said, it may be difficult to find a charge that fits the situation.

    "This is kind of bizarre," said retired University of Richmond law professor Robert Shepherd. "You don't think of 4-H club camp as being 'Fight Club.'"

    Someone encouraging an fight could be charged with a misdemeanor count of being a participant in an assault in some degree, Shepherd said. "If it were an adult, the most logical offense would be contributing to the delinquency of a minor," he said, but that charge can't be applied to juveniles. Camp counselors for 4-H are generally between 15 and 18 years old.

    D.J. Rawls' story has attracted interest far beyond Bedford and Franklin counties.

    Wednesday, D.J. and his mother appeared on CNN. Thursday morning, they spoke to "Inside Edition" and Newsweek - though they turned down an interview request from "Good Morning America." Stories on the alleged fights have appeared in newspapers as far as California and Canada.

    Richard Rawls says he thinks that fear for children's safety has driven the media attention, though he believes the fights were just one isolated incident in a good national program.

    "We didn't start off with this to engage in some media circus," he said. "We were concerned parents attempting to find out what the facts were."

    News researcher Belinda Harris contributed to this report.
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    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless
    Stephen
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  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Thanks N2DFire. I am sure that this is an isolated incident, never to be repeated. I also hope that those who instigated the fights are dealt with accordingly.

    The 4H Club is a good organization, and with any luck this will be placed in the annuls of "Don't Do This Again", and lessons are learned from it.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

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