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Students in WIU School of Agriculture Professor Andy Baker's ag shop skills class pose in the Adironack-style chairs they built for Camp Chic-a-Gama located at Macomb's Spring Lake Park. The WIU and Macomb Fraternal Order of Police lodges manage the camp and donated the materials for students to construct the chairs.
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Students in WIU School of Agriculture Professor Andy Baker's ag shop skills class unloading the Adironack-style chairs they built for Camp Chic-a-Gama located at Macomb's Spring Lake Park.
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Ag Students Build Chairs for Camp Chica-a-Gama

November 30, 2012

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MACOMB, IL – Thanks to students in Western Illinois University School of Agriculture Professor Andy Baker's ag shop skills class, as well as to local Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) lodges, youth groups and community members who use a camp located at Spring Lake have new stylish new chairs in which to take a break from their outdoor recreation activities.

According to Baker, 10 Adirondack chairs were delivered to Camp Chic-a-Gama, located at Macomb's Spring Lake Park, in September. He said the 16 students in the class are currently building two more. FOP member and retired WIU Police Officer Tom Moore (1978-2004) added the WIU and Macomb FOP lodges donated the materials for the students to build the currently popular style of chairs.

"When I saw Andy's class making the chairs while I was in Knoblauch Hall one day on other business, I asked what became of the chairs after the class was over, and he told me students take them home, so they pay for the materials themselves to build them," Moore said. "He mentioned that sometimes students have a hard time coming up with the money for the materials, so we offered to provide the materials for them to make the chairs so we could use them at the camp."

Moore noted the FOP lodges manage the former Girl Scout camp at Spring Lake so various community and local groups can use it for recreational activities.

"We maintain it and are improving the camp so others can use it for their activities. For example, we have had Cub Scout and Girl Scout day camps use it. It's also been a camp out spot for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. School groups, church groups and civic organizations have used the camp for their purposes, too. We provide the facility at no cost to the organizations and provide some of the equipment needed by them to do their activities," Moore explained.

Baker said the AGTM 368 class (agricultural shop skills) teaches students principles and skills in metal and welding fabrication, woodworking, plumbing and repairs related to agriculture.

"The shop skills course is designed with the purpose of applying mechanical concepts into to real-world practice. Many of the students have never built a wood project from scratch or developed a bill for purchasing building materials. Students have to build one wood project (chair) replicated throughout the class. Then the students have the opportunity to build a second wood project of their liking. We have built audio cabinets, picnic tables and bookshelves. We spend four hours a week in lab sweating copper pipe, welding and building wood projects, and by building them, students apply mathematical and science principles related to agricultural mechanization," Baker explained. "We were very fortunate to have the FOP be willing to supply the building materials, so my students had the opportunity to build the chairs for a worthy cause. We hope to have many more opportunities to showcase our students' skills with the community in whatever means we can."

Moore added the partnership among the WIU and Macomb FOP lodges and Baker's ag shop skills class is a great example of civic and university groups working together to benefit the community as a whole.

"The camp belongs to the city of Macomb, and we are using funds we receive through our annual fundraising letter to include this in our philanthropic endeavors," Moore noted. "Since our lodge was founded in 1992 we have been able to provide more than $150,000 in donations and services to the area."

For more information, contact Baker at (309) 298-1246 or or Moore at Find the WIU FOP Lodge 169 on Facebook at Learn more about WIU's School of Ag at

Posted By: Teresa Koltzenburg (
Office of University Communications & Marketing