Iowa 4-H Center Youth Camps
Our History and Tradition
Iowa 4-H is a youth development program with more than 100 years of experience fostering positive life skills in Iowa youth. The Iowa
4-H Center was created in 1950 to give campers a fun and educational outdoor learning environment over its 1,100 acre estate in the heart of the Des Moines River Valley.
4-H camp offers the opportunity for supervised independence to gain self-confidence and leadership skills, a sense of belonging with a caring group while making lifelong friends, a spirit of generosity toward others, and a wide variety of opportunities to master new skills and discover nature. The Iowa 4-H Center follows the motto of “learning by doing,” and draws on the knowledge base of Iowa State University and competent professional and student staff.
4-H empowers youth to reach their full potential working and learning in partnership with caring adults.
Caring Adult Staff
Caring Adults are an essential element to all Iowa 4-H programs. Nowhere is that role more important than at the Iowa 4-H Centerstaff of our 4-H camp program is committed to providing a nurturing environment for campers. Staff members are carefully selected for their ability to be advisors, guides, and mentors. After passing a criminal background check, they undergo 14 days of indepth youth development training, CPR, first aid certification, and additional instruction in special program areas.
Health and Safety
Iowa 4-H Center staff takes every precaution to ensure the safety of our campers. All visitors are required to check in upon arrival. All boaters must wear lifejackets regardless of swimming ability. Safety is controlled in our swimming area by certified lifeguards and frequent “buddy checks.” A licensed Registered Nurse lives on site and meets the health needs of campers. Everyone at camp uses the “buddy system”: anytime you go anywhere, you take someone with you.
The Iowa 4-H Center has earned the distinction of being an American Camp Association accredited camp since 1954. ACA is a nationally recognized, independent accrediting organization that focuses primarily on program quality and health and safety aspects of camp operation. This voluntary accreditation assures families that the Iowa 4-H Center has made a commitment to be a safe, nurturing environment for children and that our practices have been measured against national standards and go beyond state licensing requirements. For parents, ACA accreditation means excellence, accountability, and ongoing commitment to children. For staff at the Iowa 4-H Center, accreditation means a regular, independent health and safety audit of camp operations and a behind the scenes risk-management process that ensures we are prepared for uncertainties, allowing us to concentrate on campers.