Iowa 4-H Camping

Group around a fire

4-H Mission: 4-H empowers youth to reach their full potential through youth and adult partnerships and research-based experiences.

Adventures in nature are only part of the experience young people will have at our Youth Camps. 4-H camps offer a hands-on approach to developing the excitement and skills necessary for youth to succeed in a safe and fun setting.  The 4-H camp program starts youth on the path to becoming informed citizens and the next generation of scientists and engineers we need for our communities to thrive.        

Iowa 4-H camping experiences give kids

  • A safe outdoor environment for learning, having fun, and being creative
  • A chance to be with caring, trained adults
  • A living-learning community
  • Resident camps where kids stay overnight in cabins, tents, or under the stars
  • Day camps where outdoor creativity, activity and learning take place over several days
  • Group and individual time to have fun and learn together
  • A learning “laboratory” to practice life skills while exploring nature

Why have a 4-H camping adventure?

  • Research shows youth campers benefit in a host of ways, from being smarter, to being more cooperative, to having better overall health.
  • 4-H camp activities are led and supervised by Iowa State University 4-H staff and trained adult and teen volunteers.
  • Like all 4-H programs, Iowa 4-H camping is focused on the 4-H outcomes of developing productive citizens, outstanding communicators, effective leaders, and successful learners.
  • Because at Iowa 4-H camps, learning is part of the fun!

2019 Camp Opportunities

June 9-14th: Design Dimensions Camp – This is our six-day, five-night summer camp with day camp option for high school students in 9-12 gradeDesign Dimensions focuses on 2D, 3D and 4D thinking across disciplines while providing hands-on experience with the latest design technology. Discover how to create and manipulate structures and objects, create your own zine, develop illustrated characters, practice your photography, and so much more! More information here:

Online Training Course for Teen 4-H Camp Counselors, CITs, and Teen Leaders

We are excited to offer this series of online learning modules produced by Expert Online Training as a supplement to local 4-H camp counselor and teen leadership training. These videos and accompanying handouts will help transform your  4-H camp counselors, CITs, and other teens that have leadership roles working with younger 4-Hers into youth development professionals.
Listed below are the course module topics categorized in the areas of Leadership, Youth Development and Play, and Mental Health and Behavior.

  • Classic Problem Solving—Using options and evaluation to reach group consensus
  • Cracking Kids’ Secret Code—Listening sensitively to forge understanding
  • Get the Best and Forget the Rest—Nurturing positive youth behavior
  • Rules Were Made to Be Positive—Creating expectations campers want to live up to
  • Stop Yelling Get the HINT—Seven simple ways to engage cooperation
  • We Squashed It! (Conflict Resolution)—Collaborative problem solving for high-conflict situations

Youth Development and Play

  • Becoming a Youth Development Professional—Making the transition from ME to KIDS
  • Effective Debriefing Tools and Techniques—Learn to play and play to learn
  • Hello Games—Invite, include, and inquire
  • Move It Like You Mean It—Using body language to enhance communication
  • Playing with a Full Deck—Exciting low-prop games for groups
  • Rainy Day Games—All weather fun

Mental Health and Behavior

  • Bullies and Targets, Part I--Prevention
  • Homesickness at Day & Resident Camps, Part I—Best practices for youth leaders
  • Homesickness at Day & Resident Camps, Part II—Supportive conversation demonstration
  • Skillful Discipline, Part I—Creative behavior management and alternatives to punishment

Training Resources
Checklist of Best Practices for Camp Facilities and Operations
Checklist of Best Practices for Camping Programs