Memories of State 4-H Camp
The Texas 4-H Center in Brownwood had a special visitor last month. Sammie Zander Hampton stopped by to visit. She was the originator of the Texas Star ceremonial rock garden when the 4-H Center first opened in 1975. This is the first time she has been to the center since it opened in 1975. She was very excited to see the tradition of the Texas Star still going strong. Hundreds of children attend the 78 acre camp every summer. At each camp 4-H members bring a rock from their county to put in the star during the evening ceremony. The Texas Star has been a proud tradition at the center for over 42 years.
The original idea for the Texas Star came to Sammie when she and other Texas 4-H leaders attended the Regional 4-H Adult Leaders’ Forum in Georgia. Their center has a Georgia eagle rock mound. So, when Sammie returned to Texas she said Texas had to outdo the eagle and we would need a Texas Star. Since the Star was originated the center has added a rock ledge seating area in a circle around the star for the 4-H members to sit on during the ceremony. All 4-H members now have a time to paint their rocks before they are placed in the Star. The center has also added a propane flame that is lit each night for the ceremony.
Sammie started as a 4-H member at age 9 in Bosque County. She was a Junior Leader, led recreation at county and district camps, attended State 4-H Roundup and won many 4-H awards. When she married and had three daughters of her own, she wanted that experience for them. She started with a small 4-H Club of 12 members in McLennan County as the adult leader. The club grew to 45 members. She gave her 4-H members opportunities to help them learn and develop numerous skills. Six of her members won scholarships to college through the Houston Fat Stock Show. The year her oldest daughter won the State 4-H Health award, Sammie was presented the State 4-H Alumni award.
When the family home burned, Sammie and her family moved to Plano. All 4-H stopped and she said she still misses working with the kids.
Sammie is now a Murphy resident and is a lifetime member of the Murphy Chamber of Commerce.