Camp Clements

Dudley M. Clements, a man with vision and foresight, began developing his dream in his mind as a young teacher of agriculture in 1911. He had discussed the possibilities of such a camp with many of his staff in the Tennessee Department of Education. In September, 1927, in a newsletter to agriculture teachers, he expressed his dream for the camp.

Mr. Norman Ward deeded 25 acres of land for the camp in the foothills of the Cumberland Mountains near the Caney Fork River. The administration building was constructed in 1927 and served as offices, meeting area, sleeping quarters, kitchen and cafeteria. Soon after, in 1931, Tennessee was recognized as the first state to initiate and promote a camping program for agriculture students. Five hundred and forty three FFA members attended the camp that year. In 1934, the state association of Future Farmers of America honored the State Supervisor of Agriculture by naming the newly built camp located twelve miles south of Sparta, Tennessee: "CAMP CLEMENTS."

Camp Clements was closed in 1958 and was reopened in 1961 with a new focus on leadership development. In the early 1960’s the Tennessee Department of Education leased the camp from the FFA and started construction of new facilities.

In 2001, due to budget cuts, the Tennessee Department of Education cut funding from the camp operations and dismissed all camp employees. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of supporters across the state, Camp Clements remained open and in operation under the responsibility of the Tennessee Association FFA. Dale and Brenda Bray were employed to oversee the day to day operation of Camp Clements and Tennessee FFA provided the necessary funding to continue the operation cost of camp for the over 850 FFA members that attended camp in 2002.

In 2003, the agricultural education family was able to secure legislation authorizing the Tennessee Department of Education to re-establish the funding to operate Camp Clements with Tennessee FFA being responsible for any expenses exceeding that amount.

Over the years, the camp has expanded considerably in terms of size and use. The 58 acres of land provide facilities for all the career and technical student organizations in Tennessee.