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About Camp

Eppley Lodge

Nebraska State 4-H Camp

Nebraska National Forest | Halsey, NE

Nestled in the Nebraska National Forests and Grasslands near Halsey, the Nebraska State 4-H Camp has been serving youth since 1959. The facility offers large and intimate meeting spaces and a full-service kitchen. Large cabins with bathrooms and a bathhouse can sleep up to nearly 200 campers. At the grounds, campers have access to a recreation field, sports court, archery, canoeing, climbing course, zipline, and teambuilding course.

The Nebraska State 4-H Camp, was dedicated in 1962 and was Nebraska’s first campsite for 4-H’ers and other youth programs.  Friends of 4-H from every community in Nebraska contributed to the campaign for funds.   The facility, has served youth and adults from nearly every community in the state as well as many out state guests.  Eugene Horst, who was from Halsey, built the camp, while his wife Eleanor managed the camp activities and the facility for many years.

On May 4, 1965, a major fire burned through the Nebraska State 4-H Camp, destroying the boy ‘s bathhouse, six cabins, and many trees.  Volunteers cleaned up the area and replanted trees. The cabins were rebuilt in the same year.

Since its dedication, the camp has reached over 30,000 young people through summer camp and fall and spring outdoor education programs that focused on environmental education, leadership and skill development, resiliency and the capacity for life-long learning.

UPDATE:

On October 2nd, 2022, we received word that a forest fire (#Bovee Fire) in the Nebraska National Forest caused major devastation at our camp. The Eppley lodge as well as the cabins are a complete loss; it appears that the only structure remaining is the staff house. All of those on site were safely evacuated.   We appreciate all of the efforts of the fire fighters, Forest Service, first responders and all that are working on the fire.

10/6/2022:
We cannot express the amount of gratitude that we have for the outpouring of support and love as we work through the devastation of a place we all treasured and many called home. We are only just beginning the process of what our next steps will be and are currently working closely with all of the agencies that are involved with our property. We ask that people please do not attempt to visit the camp site. First and foremost, it is not a safe place to be as there are still firefighters actively working in the forest as well as several trees that are not safe to be around. We have been asked to ensure space is available for those that need to work in the space. The Bessey Ranger District, where camp is located, is still closed to the public.
A fund to continue the legacy has been established through the Nebraska 4-H Foundation. We appreciate your investment.  Donations may be made online through the Nebraska 4-H Foundation or mailed to:
       Nebraska 4-H Foundation
       PO Box 4500
       Lincoln, NE 68504

Share Your Story…Linger a little longer

Please share your camp stories and memories with us.  Some memories will be shared on our social media channels, on a blog that is in development stages and a future book.

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