Summer camp is a memory that most individuals cherish and never forget. What memories does the smell of a camp fire evoke? Swimming in the lake or bay? Roughing it old-school in cabins and bunk beds? Camp songs around the fire? Camp dances and programs? How about life-long memories and friendships?
The 4-H summer camp is more than sending youth away for a week to learn about a specific subject matter in a structured setting. Campers and counselors should have the opportunity to gain various life skills within a hands-on atmosphere. The 4-H camping experience is a safe and inclusive environment for youth to gain personal growth and development without even realizing it.
Counselors are responsible for a group of youth throughout the day: guiding their younger counterparts through their meals, programs, and providing a range of support. Camp counselors not only learn to be mentors and leaders, but also learn indispensable life skills such as management, responsibility, communication, and resiliency. Counselors gain a sense of pride when their campers try something new or succeed at a difficult task, thus giving them self-assurance that they are making a difference in their campers’ lives.
Campers are encouraged to get out of their comfort zones to discover and explore their interests, talents, and values. They have the potential to excel in creative dramatics, marine exploration, air rifle, mad science, and many other programs that camp offers. Campers gain confidence, empowerment, and resiliency through these new experiences. A sense of community and belonging will stem from the traditional camp songs and dances they will learn in a non-judgmental environment. New friendships are formed from the multi-county dynamic that the 4-H summer camp provides, where youth gain the opportunity to interact with diverse groups of youth they may not otherwise be exposed to.
The 4-H summer camp is a place for youth to unplug and get some fresh air, while gaining valuable skills that will last a lifetime. The camp believes in “letting kids be kids” by utilizing the learn-by-doing approach with a strong balance of routine and unstructured time within a nurturing environment, where youth feel a sense of community and belonging.
If you would like to find out more about our 4-H Summer Camp at Camp Timpoochee in Niceville, FL, please email Taylor Wilken at email@example.com or by calling the UF/IFAS Okaloosa County Extension Office at 850-689-5850.