May 24, 2001 | By: Mark Eclov

As school doors close for the summer, the learning opportunities continue for the thousands of youngsters who will include a 4-H camp experience as part of their upcoming summer vacation plans.

While some new twists have been added to camp activities, the basic goals of the 4-H camping experience still include lessons on appreciating the natural environment, making new friends and learning lifetime hobbies.

"4-H summer camp offers opportunities for all youth ages 9-13 years to have a safe, educational, and fun filled experience away from the TV and video games," said Mark Morgan, Extension 4-H Youth Development Associate with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture.

The camps are located near the communities of Carlisle, Rush, London, Jabez and Dawson Springs. They range in size from 300 to 1,500 acres and all have modern facilities including cabins, dining halls, swimming pools, and lakes for canoeing and fishing.

Today's 4-H camps incorporate a diverse set of learning experiences into their daily schedule and it varies from camp to camp.

"4-H campers can learn new skills in traditional camp activities such as canoeing, nature, and archery," noted Morgan.

Depending on the mix of volunteer leaders, a camp may also offer a variety of less traditional activities such as model rocketry, bird and reptile identification, soccer, drama training, and much more. There is also an emphasis on citizenship, appreciating diversity and working effectively in a group.

Three camps have added a low-elements challenge course. It is based on a series of obstacles in which the goal is to get an entire group of 4-Her's through to the objective together.

More than 3,000 volunteers help direct campers. Each camp is also staffed with an emergency medical technician, certified lifeguards and instructors for nature and recreation.

"Adult volunteers may serve as cabin counselor or can share their talents and skills by being a camp instructor or taking other leadership roles," said Morgan.

If you haven't signed up yet, there may still be some camp openings in your county.

"Sign-up times vary widely across the state," added Morgan. "Some camp roles have been filled for weeks and other counties are just beginning the sign-up process, so it is important to check with your local county Extension 4-H agent to find out about available slots and camp activity details."

Costs of the five-day residential camps vary from $72 to $100 per person and scholarships are offered in many counties. The costs include transportation to and from the camp, three meals and two snacks a day and four nights of overnight lodging.

"All of Kentucky's 4-H camps participate in the federally-funded Summer Food Service program, operating under guidelines similar to public school lunch programs," said Morgan.

Free meal service is based on family size and income. For a family of one, the base yearly income is $15,448. The yearly income base increases $5,365 for each additional family member.

Contact your local county Extension office for additional information on day and residential 4-H experiences offered in your area.


Mark Morgan (859) 257-5961