July 18, 2003 | By: Aimee D. Heald

Dancing, acting, painting and sculpting aren’t the norm on a 4-H camp list of classes. But this year North-Central 4-H camp near Carlisle is offering these classes, and more, as a part of a fine arts theme.

“This is a pilot program and we’ve been working on it for many months,” said Donna Fox, University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension 4-H specialist. “4-H agents from Garrard, Anderson and Bourbon counties have been working on it.”

The camp planners also teamed up with folks at UK’s Singletary Center for the Arts. Fox said the partnership has been instrumental in helping identify camp activities that emphasize the fine arts theme.

“We’ve been able to incorporate the special art activities with traditional camp activities,” she said. “We still have canoeing, archery, crafts, nature and recreation, but we’ve added four arts tracks including dance, theater, music and visual arts.”

With so many new subject areas, camp planners enlisted the help of students and faculty from the UK College of Fine Arts to help teach the classes. Fox said even some employees from the Singletary Center have volunteered their time to help.

A fine arts theme sounds great in theory, but what do campers think of the change? Ashlie Davis, an Anderson County seventh-grader, said she enjoys the changes.

“I’m a dancer, so I enjoy the classes,” she said. “4-H camp is always fun, but this changes it up a lot and gives something for everybody. If you’re not really athletic, you still have classes you can take.”

Morgan Coutchfield, a Garrard County fifth-grader, participated in modern and jazz dance classes, as well as weaving.

“I like to express my feelings in dance class,” she said. “Like if I’m mad, I dance different than when I’m happy. They also teach us how to dance big and dance small.”

Grant Blevins, a Garrard County 4-Her, has been at 4-H camp for six years. He’s still taking a lot of traditional classes but has added in some of the arts theme with an acting class.

“I’ve been here a lot of years and it can get sort of ‘same old, same old,’ ” he said. “This year there’s a lot more arts programs and it’s something different for me to try.”

Other 4-H theme camps are in the works, but they will mostly be overnight camps or two- to three-day camps.

“We’re doing some other shorter theme camps such as health, natural resources and technology, but these fine arts folks were bold and decided they wanted the theme for their week long camp,” Fox said. “I applaud them for wanting to take that chance and I think it’s going to work out great.”

After camp, the planners will have a debriefing of sorts to determine things that did work and things they want to change for next year.


Writer: Aimee D. Heald 859-257-4736, ext. 267
Source: Donna Fox 859-257-5961