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Retreats. Conferences. Events.

The W. E. Skelton 4-H Educational Conference Center at Smith Mountain Lake is the ideal location for your next event. Our beautiful 120 acre lakefront property offers spacious and modern meeting facilities, on-site catering, dormitory and hotel style lodging options, and a wide selection of recreation opportunities, including facilitated team building programs.Our Conferencing Department works diligently to ensure that each group is offered a variety of planning options guaranteed to lead to a quality and enjoyable event.
Our 23,000 square feet of meeting space allows groups to choose from over fifteen (15) indoor conference rooms.Our main conference rooms are located in the Auditorium, Taubman Conference Center, Reid Jones Jr. Lodge, and JOCO Learning Center. Each has a kitchen or kitchenette and restroom accommodations.

Outdoor shelters include our Open Air Pavilion, Willard Pavilion, and the Willard Amphitheatre. All of these facilities have restroom access and offer ample seating.

Meet. Learn. Play.

Recreational Opportunities at the Center

In between structured activities, use our large recreational field for free time. The field features a back-stop fence for softball games, and movable soccer goals. The group will also have access to the recreation shed which contains a wide array of balls, bats, hula-hoops, jump ropes, Frisbees, tug-of-war ropes, and other items that can be used during your group’s recreational time.

Tennis and Basketball Courts

Outdoor courts are located next to the pool. There is no charge to use these facilities. A shaded basketball court is located in the Open Air Pavilion; please inquire to see whether or not this area is available for your group.

Volleyball

Freestanding volleyball nets are located in the Open Air Pavilion. Please inquire to see whether or not this area is available for your group.

Horsehoe Pits

Horseshoe Pits are located next to the pool.

Let your group enjoy an afternoon of fun at the Wiss Miniature Golf course. Featuring 18 holes of putt-putt, this was the area’s first wheelchair accessible miniature golf course.

The Center also boasts a short-fall, shaded driving range and series of putting greens in our P.T. “Patsy” Smith Memorial Golf Complex. This complex also has a nice patio with shaded benches and a picnic table where guests can enjoy a full afternoon of golf and refreshment.

Looking for a fun evening program? Reserve our campfire circle for an evening of stories, songs, and fun. Located near Willard Pavilion, the circle has several tiered rows of wooden benches so that everyone has a great view of the fire. The 4-H Center will provide all the wood necessary to enjoy a beautiful campfire!
Our 120 acres of lakefront property feature three-miles of beautiful wooded hiking trails that are available for use. From relaxing to moderately strenuous, our trails feature picturesque views of Smith Mountain Lake and the surrounding areas.
Guests may enjoy fishing at the Waterfront and from the Advance Auto Parts Gazebo and Dock. Please inquire to see whether or not this area is available for your group. Also note that state fishing guidelines must be followed and anyone age 16 or older must have a Virginia State Fishing License in order to fish in Smith Mountain Lake.

For more information, feel free to contact our Conferencing Department: 4Hconferencing@vt.edu or (540) 721-2759

Supervised Activities with Instructor

The 4-H Center offers cooperation and teambuilding programs for youth, adolescents, and adults. The primary purpose of these programs is to challenge members of a group to overcome a series of obstacles by working together. As the group overcomes each obstacle in their course, teamwork will increase dramatically. All programs conducted on our challenge course are physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging. Every group that visits our Center is different; therefore, each group’s individual program can be structured for the needs of that organization. Ropes Course programs can run from 3-7 hours depending on the group’s size and needs. Participants are asked to wear comfortable clothing, closed-toe shoes with heel straps, and no jewelry.
In addition to a program on the Low Ropes Course (see description above), groups may also utilize the Climbing Tower, which challenges participants’ problem solving ability as they grapple with our 25-foot wall. Multiple levels of difficulty challenge new and experienced climbers. As the individuals overcome our wall, the group will learn communication and support for one another. Climbing Tower programs can run from 1-4 hours depending on the group’s size and needs. Participants are asked to wear comfortable clothing, closed-toe shoes with heel straps, and no jewelry. Also note that participants wearing hard hair bows or barrettes may be asked to remove them in order to wear a helmet safely.
Enjoy a peaceful paddle along the shores of Smith Mountain Lake in a canoe or recreational kayak. Participants are asked to wear closed-toe shoes with heel straps and all participants must wear a life jacket (provided by the 4-H Center).
Test your aiming skills on our Archery Range! Re-curve bows for all ages and abilities are utilized on our range with 8 shooting lanes. The range is located next to the Canoe/Kayak shed.
Ready, Aim, Fire! .22 caliber rifles in youth and adult sizes are the tool used to teach this class. Safe handling of a firearm, proper firing techniques, and more are part of the curriculum. The range is located behind JOCO Learning Center.
Take a break and relax in the pool! Your group will enjoy swimming in our L-shaped pool complete with a shallow end and a diving well. Lounge chairs, showers, and changing rooms are also located at the pool facility for your convenience. Lifeguards are required and provided by the 4-H Center.

For more information, feel free to contact our Conferencing Department: 4Hconferencing@vt.edu or (540) 721-2759

Teambuilding at the Skelton 4-H Center

The 4-H Center offers cooperation and teambuilding programs for youth, adolescents, and adults. The primary purpose of these programs is to challenge members of a group to overcome a series of obstacles by working together. As the group overcomes each obstacle in their course, teamwork will increase dramatically.

All programs conducted on our challenge course are physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging. Every group that visits our Center is different; therefore, each group’s individual program can be structured for the needs of that specific organization.

Our Program Department offers corporate and adult ropes course programs. These programs are used by millions of organizations world wide to develop groups of individuals into one working team. By placing individuals into safe but challenging situations, qualities of individuals emerge that could have otherwise stayed hidden. Programs incorporate group initiatives, low ropes course elements, and debriefing into a half-day (3-4 hours) or full day (6-7 hours) experiences. All facilitation, instruction, and equipment is provided by the 4-H Center. Our facilities are ACA accredited and our instructors are fully qualified to adapt a program specifically for your organization.

  • To foster mutual support and teamwork within a group, as well as recognize the importance of each member’s contributions within that group.
  • To develop and increase trust with every member of the group.
  • To facilitate and improve goal setting and problem solving by individuals and by the group.
  • To encourage group members to identify the value of individual differences.
  • To encourage safe, appropriate risk taking in a caring environment.
  • To promote feelings of personal confidence, accomplishment, responsibility, leadership, and self-worth.
  • To develop communication and cooperation among members of the group.
  • To build a strong foundation for a group to develop on.
As you take the scenic entrance into our facility, you will be comforted by the well kept shorelines of Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia and the amazing wildlife that surrounds our Center. Your group will begin by doing some icebreaker games to help loosen up the participants and get them comfortable around one another.

Our large, open recreation fields offer the perfect environment for introducing groups to the team process, before moving to the beautiful strand of mixed hardwoods in which the Low Ropes Course lies, and the next stage of our process begins. The pavilion at the start of our course makes for a great meeting and discussion area as we relax in nature and discuss our goals and objectives for the day’s activities.

As the groups begin tackling obstacles, the challenges will get harder and harder. After each obstacle, a short debriefing will occur to discuss the points of interest of that obstacle. As the group finishes up the day, our staff and the individuals participating in the course will discuss the overall effects of the day’s challenges and their reflections.

Groups of all sizes, ages, and backgrounds can benefit from many of the various Teambuilding Program options available. We work with corporate groups, professional organizations, school groups, college/university organizations, civic organizations, and church groups. All organizations can benefit in some way from a challenge course. Examples of these benefits include:

  • Many local Chamber of Commerce organizations, brain storming teams, and heads of large industries have used our challenge course to better the teamwork of their organization.
  • School groups from 4th grade through high school have used our course to develop teamwork among classes and help their students to prepare for the S.O.L.’s.
  • Several Greek organizations choose our challenge course to build a better family atmosphere among their members.
  • University leadership councils such as SGA, BOCUS, Student Leader Association, Residence Life, and FCA use the skills learned and implemented at our challenge course to encourage teamwork in their respective organizations throughout the year.
  • Youth and adult groups from various religious denominations have had great success in developing their individual programs through the use of our challenge course programs.
Every group that enters our facility has a different need addressed. Our well-trained staff can develop programs to provide a variety of possible outcomes. Possible points of interest that can be built and shaped through a challenge course are trust, unity, communication, cooperation, organization, thought process, stopping office gossip, improving self confidence, improving group confidence, etc. We can design our programs according to the specific needs of any group.
This is a year-round offering, with most availability between August & May. Programs are available seven (7) days per week and adapted to fit your schedule.

For more information, feel free to contact our Conferencing Department: 4Hconferencing@vt.edu or (540) 721-2759

Attractions near the W.E. Skelton Conference Center