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I started work with the Cooperative Extension Service July 1, 1980. The Arkansas 4-H Center was finishing up construction of the main building the month I was hired. The first event at the center was a retirement luncheon for then director Mr. Bates. He was exiting as I was entering. They had not hired all the staff yet that they needed at the center, so the Pulaski County Extension Staff were called into action to serve for the luncheon. Extension folks do all kinds of work in their career! The grand opening came later that fall.

When the center opened, there were no lodging units yet, but that came in time. Today the Arkansas 4-H Center

is called The Vines Center, named after C. A. Vines a past extension director, and a man who had the vision for the center and a passion for 4-H. Today there are 94 lodging rooms for adults and children of all ages. In 2003, The Donald W. Reynolds Continuing Education Wing opened

complete with a state-of-the-art auditorium

that can accomodate 500 people, with meeting rooms of all sizes.

Two outside buildings Cabe Hall

and Feland Hall are additional options for events, and there are trails, outside classrooms, a swimming pool, a lake with canoes and kayaks

and ropes courses. They also offer a full meal service, and can do whatever type of meals you are looking for. The center continues to grow and expand.

To celebrate the 40th birthday a planning committee has been working to come up with some special events.

One event is Dinner at the Vines, a farm to table event planned for October 6. Mark your calendar now, because you won't want to miss it. The Pulaski County Master Gardeners have a fabulous demonstration vegetable garden at the center and they plan to grow the vegetables for the event.

Plans are still in their infancy, but we met this past week and the ideas were flowing. If you haven't been to the Vines Center, you need to see it to believe it.

I have held many a conference there when I was working, and also had my parents 50th Anniversary dinner there, where out of town family and friends stayed. Whether you are planning a big event or a small one, with kids or adults, the Vines Center has much to offer. Make plans to celebrate with us!

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