4-H’ers in Wayne and Ashland counties are wrapping up their “Party In The USA” at 4-H Camp Ohio just in time for the Fourth of July.
Featuring a red, white, and blue theme, the camp brought together more than 175 4-Her’s, ranging in ages from 8 to 13, for four days of fun and learning activities. Making it all happen were 38 counselors, nine adult staff members and co-directors Diane Johnson (4-H Program Coordinator for Ohio State University Extension-Wayne County), and Jackie Wasilewski (4-H Youth Development Educator for OSU Extension-Ashland County).
Their operating base was the 4-H Camp Ohio Youth Education Center nestled along the Rocky Fork Stream about 10 miles east of Utica. The camping facilities offer hands-on outdoor education, adventure, and challenges that help develop leadership, citizenship and life skills in young people.
Campers could choose fun activities such as zip lining, line dancing, canoeing, swimming, water games, Gaga Pit games, fishing, drone flying, and craft making.
Around a campfire each evening, counselors entertained the campers with funny skits and reflected on the day’s events. During a Saturday evening Outpost, a select group of campers and counselors played Capture the Flag, did nighttime zip lining, and slept outdoors.
Campers also experienced a new revamped high ropes course, did stream studies, and visited the camp’s nature center.
An emotional candle lighting service gave campers and counselors a chance to share favorite camp memories and advice for campers coming back in the future. Cabin parties with snacks, games, and music followed the service.
Final night activities scheduled included a dinner and dance with a spotlight on counselor introductions.
Months of training and preparation are invested in 4-H Camp. The 4-H staff trains teen counselors, recruits volunteers, purchases supplies and sets the stage for an experience packed with opportunities to grow and learn. The counselors develop the theme and plan the activities, with guidance from adult staff.
Certainly, lifelong friendships and lasting memories have been made at camp while youth challenged themselves trying new activities, exploring the outdoors, and learning line dances and songs.
According to the Ohio 4-H program, this is what youth had to say after their camping experience last year.
- 94 percent indicated that they had someone to look up to at camp.
- 97 percent said they made a new friend at camp.
- 93 percent indicated that they learned something new.
- 94 percent said they will recommend camp to their friends.
- 97 percent want to return to camp next year.
I’m sure when all our campers from Wayne and Ashland counties are home, they will unpack memories that will last long after the last campfire is extinguished. The laughter will linger, and many will already be making plans to go again next year.
Laurie Sidle is a 4-H and Family and Consumer Sciences program assistant for Ohio State University Extension in Wayne County and can be reached at 330-264-8722