4-H Youth Enjoy "WALK on the WILD SIDE" at Tri-County 4-H Camp

Campers canoeing on a pond at the Y Camp.

Forty-five 4th-6th grade 4-H youth and nine teen counselors from Boone, Hardin, Marshall, Polk, and Story Counties participated in the 16th annual Tri-County 4-H Camp July 31 through August 2 held at the Y Camp near Boone. Campers were involved in many “WALK on the WILD SIDE” theme-based activities led by teen counselors, camp-based activities led by Y Camp staff, and special environmental lessons. Annette Brown, ISU Extension and Outreach 4-H Youth Development Specialist, coordinated the camp.
Research shows that being outdoors provides a great classroom and health benefits. The American Camping Association shares how camping is an essential compliment to what youth do during school. This includes experiential, discovery and active learning; character education; cooperative learning and teambuilding. Health benefits include exercise and stress relief. Tri-County 4-H Camp provide opportunities for all of these.
Tri-County 4-H campers started their camp experiences with get acquainted activities and teambuilding elements at the low ropes course to develop a sense of belonging and community. The Y Camp activities led by trained camp staff provided physical exercise in the forms of canoeing, archery, climbing/rock wall, zip-line, tube slide, and swimming. Campers indicated on the closing survey that they gained or improved skills in all of these areas, whether this was their first time at camp or if they were returning campers.
Teen counselors, 4-H staff, and volunteers engaged youth in gaga ball, a creek walk and lots of walking. The creek walk provided exploration of wildlife and the effects of water on the creek environment. The annual duck race encouraged good sportsmanship and cheering on their ducks in the rocky creek bed. Maya Hayslett, Iowa 4-H Crop Sciences Program Specialist, and Hannah Heckman, Boone County 4-H member, taught the importance of native bees to environmental health and helping with food production through pollination. Youth learned about stars, planets, and light spectrums from Ed Engle, a member of the Ames Amateur Astronomers. Madeline Schill, Ledges State Park DNR, shared animal pelts and footprints to teach campers about local wildlife.
Campers shared on their evaluations the most important things they learned, what they learned about themselves and what they will use in the future. Frequent responses included that they learned to not be afraid to try new things, develop teamwork skills, develop new friendships, the importance of wildlife, and to have fun. They were excited to discover skills they are good at such as archery, canoeing, and rock wall climbing. Several were pleased to overcome their fear of heights on the rock wall and zip line.
The camp concluded with 165 family members participating in a BBQ meal and closing campfire with S'mores. Campers, counselors and adults each received a recognition certificate for something unique related to a quality or an accomplishment at camp.
Senior level 4-H members were teen counselors. They participated in training and used their leadership skills to ensure a safe and fun environment for campers. Cade Barnett, Lance Longhorn, Justus Rude, Viatris Scott, and Chaz Warson from Boone County; Hailey Kube from Hardin County; Quinton Ward and Zy Whitehead from Marshall County; and Geena Jensen from Story County volunteered as teen counselors.
Boone County campers were Delainee Anderson, Adam Baker, Jack Baker, Morgan Christensen, Enzo Frogge, Wyatt Herrstrom, Avery Howie, Gabe Jonas, Zachary Loecke, Lydia Longhorn, Juliana Lutz, Sylus Rude, Rozzie Stevenson, and Maggie Whitney. Hardin County campers were Morgan Brennan, Kenedi Okones, and Danielle Wilson. Elle Carlson and Paige Ward came to camp from Marshall County. Polk County camper was Dylan Twedt. Story County campers included Austin Boege, Hailey Estrem, Story Grebasch, Lydia Hackett, Leif Haug, Tejasi Hublikar, Tyler Lambert, Caleb Lehmkuhl, Braden Lewis, Caden Krause, Anirudh Manimaran, Magnus Olson, Kaylee Oxley, Riley Pecsi, Sayum Singhal, Sailesh Srinath, Shreya Srinath, Dane Spykerman, Evabelle Stokes, Tripp Sturgill, Mason Tice, Ross Upchurch, Delilah Valline, Maddox Weigelt, and Carson Wilkins.
Many adults made the Tri-County Junior 4-H Camp possible. In addition to Brown's and the teen counselors’ leadership, other adults contributing to the success of camp included volunteers Karolyn Peterson of Ogden, Carissa Brown of Iowa City, Kenton Reece of Perry, and Dillon Schmidt of Boone. ISU Extension and Outreach staff included Anne Tedore, 4-H Youth Development Specialist; Shelby Larsen, Marshall County summer program assistant; Natalie Hedlund, Boone County 4-H Youth Coordinator; Bailey Spurgeon, Boone/Story County summer program assistant; Emily Mitchell, Hardin County summer program assistant, and Rebecca Heckert, Story County AmeriCorps member. Volunteers Susan Heck and David Brown helped prepare the closing family BBQ meal.
The 2019-2020 4-H program year begins in September. Information about becoming a 4-H member or a volunteer is available at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach office in each county. Visit your county's web page to learn more www.extension.iastate.edu/content/county-offices.


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