4-H offers development opportunities through youth camp programs

Learn the basics about the camp opportunities Michigan 4-H offers youth ages 8 to 19.

Michigan 4-H youth development around the state offers many kinds of camping experiences for youth of all ages and interests. As the end of the year approaches, consider researching camp opportunities for the spring and summer – they’re just around the corner!  

4-H camp offers programming geared to youth ages 5 to 8 year-olds, which usually consist of a day camp. Youth can meet daily at a campground or local township hall or school. They can spend the day doing crafts, recreation, singing, nature walks and much more. This gives the 5- to 8-year-olds a chance to go to a day-long program and still have the overall camp theme of being with youth the same age. There may be specialized camps focusing on one project also, such as a livestock camp or horse camp which would just focus on a specific project area.

Once youth reach the age of 9 to 11 years-old or 12 to 14 years-old, you may find a camp that offers overnight camping. Some counties break down the age groups and offer programming to fit those age groups. These camps offer flag raising, flag lowering, camp fires, swimming, boating and longer sessions of crafts and other activities depending on the location of the camp.

Most of the 4-H camps begin their camp counselor opportunities at the age of 15 to 19 years-old. Camp counselor training can be done in one day; for a longer camp, the training would take a few days depending on the length of the camp or age of the campers. This is a great opportunity for our older youth to develop life skills during their training. Leadership development, responsibility, safety and decision-making are just a few life skills youth gain as a result of participating in camp counselor training.

Michigan 4-H offers a weekend workshop for youth 13 and older to learn the roles of being a camp counselor and many ideas for sessions to teach at camp. This is held at Kettunen Center, Michigan’s 4-H leader training facility located in Tustin, Mich. The next training will be held March 1-3, 2013.

In August, Michigan State University Extension provides the opportunity for youth to participate in Great Lakes Natural Resource Camp which focuses on the Great Lakes and out-of-door experiences. For more information on this camp, please visit the Michigan 4-H website.

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