Ferrum Forward’s November Meeting Highlights Phoebe Needles

Phoebe Needles Executive Director Inge Terrill presents different lodging, rental, and community center buildings at Ferrum Forwards November meeting.
Phoebe Needles Executive Director Inge Terrill presents different lodging, rental, and community center buildings at Ferrum Forward’s November meeting.
Kyle Markowitz

Featured speaker Inge Terrill represented the Phoebe Needles Center at Ferrum Forward’s November meeting, last Tuesday.

Phoebe Needles has been around for more than 120 years, but Terrill took over as the executive director, in May, after the retirement of John Heck who was there for 25 years.

“Phoebe Needles started as a church on about an acre and a half of land, and then it grew,” Terrill said.  “Some people donated an additional 50 acres to start a mission school, and that stayed for 40 years. A few years ago, Webb Family donated 17 acres, including their house and a cabin giving us 78 acres.”

After the closing of the mission school, Phoebe Needles became a community center, becoming a place of retreat while also doing mission work.

“What we are best known for now is our youth summer camp programs, which started around 40 years ago,” Terrill said.  “We have two weeks of training for our camp staff, and then we launch into about six or seven weeks of wild and crazy programs.”

Phoebe Needles offers two different kinds of summer camp programs, depending on the child’s age.

The day camp programs are for rising first- through fourth-graders. During the day, campers will learn how to swim, conduct nature studies, and create artwork.

The residential camp is the other program made up rising fifth- through twelfth-graders, and this program is an overnight camp.

“At Phoebe, what I’m hoping to do is bring in some of my passion with science in what we are doing there,” Terrill said.  “I was not a camper growing up. Although I have been on the teacher side of the camps for about 20 years now.”

Terrill’s passion came from her daughters when she moved from North Carolina.

“I came into education when my daughters were little. It was hard for me to take them to a school, drop them off, and walk away,” Terrill said.  “The school they were first enrolled in was Blue Mountain School, and that’s up in Floyd. It was a parent cooperative school at the time, so I got involved with the school immediately, and that launched my joy of working with children.”

Currently, Phoebe Needles has job openings available for an assistant cook, camp cook, day camp and residential camp counselors and directors.

“I’m talking with people internationally right now, but I would love for Ferrum College students to be a part of our staff because it is an honor to work with you all,” Terrill said.  “Phoebe Needles would not exist if it weren’t for the community, and I feel like there is a sense of family here, and that’s what I’m hoping to continue.”

Phoebe Needles doesn’t just work with kids.  There are multiple programs for seniors 55 and older.

“We are about service at Phoebe,” Terrill said.  “We want to provide service to the community, whether that’s service as a program or the rental of a facility.”

One senior program is called the Center of Lifelong Learning.

On Dec. 12, a Christmas luncheon will be held for seniors, with Jill Trinka and Juanita Smoot presenting.

“It’s a nice time for people to get together and learn, as well as have fellowship,” Terrill said.

The other program is the Active Seniors program.  This program was an in-person program until the pandemic, and since has stayed online.

“The Active Seniors program meets online three days a week, and it doesn’t cost anything,” Terrill said.  “So, if you know any people who want to exercise in the morning–especially seniors–this is something they can do for free.”

In Ferrum Forward news, the Dec. 12 meeting will be a potluck holiday celebration with ornament making.

Also, the refurbishing of both Ferrum signs entering from either direction was completed with the collaboration of Visit Virginia Blue Ridge, which is non-profit organization. (See the Iron Blade story about the installation here.)

“They (Phoebe Needles) gave us $1,200 for that project, which we were very pleased with,” Ferrum Forward Chair Jennie West said.  “Indigo Signs did all the work and rebuilt the signs. They are now really pretty with a white post, white edging, and lights at night.”

The Holiday Craft Bazaar was Nov. 11, with 33 vendors and more than 300 customers. (The story can be found by clicking here.)

“We originally had 45 vendors registered, but because we don’t charge anything we had some no shows,” Rebecca Saunders said.  “But the 33 vendors is more than we have ever had, and our Saturday markets usually max out at about 100 people, so it’s been getting bigger and better.”

Friends of Ferrum Park held a free trick or treat event for the local children Oct. 21.

“We don’t know exact totals, but in general, there was at least 160 kids plus parents, so we were really impressed,” Saunders said.  “We ran out of candy within the first 20 minutes, and after going to get all the extra candy we had, we gave out about 120 pounds of candy in an hour.”

Following the trick or treat event, Friends of Ferrum Park also held a Haunted Trail Fundraiser on the land in process to be made a community park.

“We ended up selling 179 tickets, which is a phenomenal turnout for it being our first year and minimal advertising,” Saunders said. “I think total, we ended up making around $1,800 for Friends of Ferrum Park.  We had a decent amount of college kids and a lot of community members come out, which we really appreciate.”







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