North Dakota Farmers Union broke ground Friday for a new youth camp on land adjacent to the Jamestown Reservoir.

Site preparation is already underway on the project that will provide dormitory and educationals space for about 150 youth campers starting as early as next summer, said Mark Watne, president of North Dakota Farmers Union.

"if the concrete can be put in this fall, we could be utilizing this by the middle of next summer," Watne said.

The facility will also include a STEM classroom, game room gymnasium and a co-op store as part of the educational experience for the youth that attend, Watne said.

Watne said teaching technology related topics at Farmers Union youth camps is a new part of the summer camp program that began in 1937 with a camp at Spiritwood Lake, north of Jamestown.

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Farmers Union has previously offered summer camping experiences to about 1,200 youth each year although the coronavirus pandemic has limited this summers participation to about 450. With the new camp on the Jamestown Reservoir online next year, Watne said he hopes to boost camper numbers to near 2,000.

North Dakota Farmers Union also operates a camp on Lake Tschida at the Heart Butte Reservoir near Glen Ullin, North Dakota.