For generations children have spent their summers at sleep away camps, trying new activities, such as swimming, archery, rec dance, and outdoor skills. For some, they may refer to these moments at camp as a time when they were living their best life. Over 136 youth attended 4-H Camp Cherry Lake, June 11-15th, from Lafayette, Madison and Taylor Counties.
Residential camps are comprised of three attributes: the outdoors, education, and community. These attributes combined create the residential camp experience. Residential camping allows youth to experience the growth while living in a natural, communal setting that provides abundant opportunities for development of knowledge, independence, responsibility, self-esteem, self-efficacy, and teamwork. Campers obtain valuable life skills needed to become successful adults. Camp offers one of the most powerful learning environments and can be a place where a child’s social education takes place. It provides youth with the opportunity to try new activities. When children succeed at these activities, they build self-esteem. Youth also build social skills and problem solving skills by being part of a supportive community and partaking in activities together. Campers are challenged and encouraged to grow every day. Camp allows youth to unplug from technology. Today’s children spend more than 7.5 hours a day engaged with technology, which often takes place of hands on activities and socialization. During the week at Camp Cherry Lake, you will observe sitting across the table from each other engaging in conversation during mealtime. Taking a break from technology allows youth the chance to get in touch with the current surrounds, develop relationships with other campers, and live in the moment.
The 4-H Camping centers are part of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. The children experience a taste of “Old Florida” by staying in cabins built in the early 1960s. They hung their clothes out on the lines and completed camp chores without complaint. Staff members hail from Florida and all over the world, offering youth a chance to interact with and explore other cultures.
4-H summer camps are an excellent way for youth to learn about their environment while having fun and making friends that last a lifetime.
For more information about 4-H Summer camps and other 4-H activities, contact your local Extension Office.