Summer is almost here and Lake County 4-H youth are anticipating going to 4-H summer camp. Summer camp offers an invaluable experience to the youth who attend. According to the American Camping Association, the camp provides children with an opportunity to discover and explore their interests, values and talents. Youth attending 4-H camp last year indicated positive results such as making new friends, developing new skills and becoming more independent and able to take care of themselves.
Attending youth enter a technology-free zone so they can spend their day being physically active. This provides youth the opportunity to be in the great outdoors and participate in outdoor recreational activities. Being away from technology provides youth time to utilize creativity with STEM and craft activities. Unplugging from technology provides youth the ability to learn about themselves and discover new interests.
Campers take part in all the classic summer camp activities including hiking, swimming, arts and crafts, skits and songs around the campfire. Oftentimes, summer camp is the first time campers have experienced these activities. Throughout the week, youth can develop these skills and gain confidence in these activities.
Camp teaches youth to become independent. During the camp week, youth are able to make decisions and be responsible without their parents guiding them every step of the way. Youth manage their daily hygiene, the upkeep of their cabin and making safe choices. Camp shows kids that they can. Camp helps youth develop self-confidence and self-esteem providing opportunities for youth to succeed. Camp staff and counselors are trained to continually encourage kids to never give up which is a huge boost for most youth. Staff and counselors nurture kids and they provide an environment to withstand obstacles, try new things and see improvement when you give something another try.
When living in close quarters with peers kids share chores, sing for food, resolve disagreements and have a firsthand experience of the importance of communication. Camp is the perfect place for kids to practice making decisions for themselves. Youth welcome this opportunity since they are free to develop in new directions.
Camp develops lifelong friendships and memories. Camp is a place where you can make best friends. Camp brings youth together as they participate in communal experiences. Campfires, skits and having new experiences together really connects relationships. Some of my personal lifelong friends are friends I made at camp. “A Ring Is Round” is a song that youth sing during the end of the week candle lighting activity and is a testimony to the bonding experience camp provides. The lyrics are, “Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold. A ring is round, it has no end. That’s how long you’ll be my friend.”