Summer Camp Can Prepare Kids for Tomorrow’s Jobs

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Will my child be able to get a job one day?

It’s a question many parents of school-aged kids ask at some point. After all, the job market will only continue to demand a more skilled, more educated workforce.

That’s where youth development programs like 4-H can help young people succeed in their future careers, said Heather Kent, interim associate state program leader for Florida 4-H.

Florida 4-H, part of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension, offers summer camp programs that allow youth to try out career paths and grow socially, Kent said.

“All of our camping programs incorporate opportunities for youth to learn and practice soft skills, such as communication, teamwork and cooperation. In addition, many of our camps are subject matter specific, allowing youth to explore a variety of topics to find out what sparks their interest,” she said.

Kent gave several examples of the kinds of camps available:

  • Marine Science: Skills and careers related to marine ecology.
  • Outdoor Adventures: Environmental conservation and careers related to natural resources, specifically recreation.
  • STEM: Robotics and careers related to engineering.
  • Culinary: Food safety, food preparation, nutrition, as well as careers related to nutrition and the food industry.
  • Money Management: Budgets, savings accounts, entrepreneurship.
  • “Real Life”: Real life skills that are often overlooked — how to change a tire, apply for your first job, reconcile your bank statement.

Florida 4-H also operates three overnight camps in the state: Camp Timpoochee in Niceville; Camp Cherry Lake in Madison; and Camp Cloverleaf in Lake Placid. These camps offer the classic summer camp experiences of hiking, kayaking and songs around the bonfire.

“The overnight camps are a great chance for kids to learn independence and responsibility,” Kent said. “Younger children participate as campers, and high school students have the opportunity to become camp counselors and work on their leadership skills.”

Summer camps are just one aspect of Florida 4-H. The program reaches more than 200,000 Florida youth annually through local clubs, school and afterschool programs, competitions, state events and camping.

To learn more about 4-H camps and other 4-H activities in your area, contact your UF/IFAS Extension county office by visiting http://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/find-your-local-office/ or call (352) 846-4444.

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The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS works to bring science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents. Visit the UF/IFAS web site at ifas.ufl.edu and follow us on social media at @UF_IFAS.

 

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