CORVALLIS, Ore. – Traditionally at 4-H summer camps, kids sang around fires, cast fishing lines and wove leather into key chains. Now, they’re just as likely to build a robot or repair a hiking path.
“Kids do so many different things,” said Pamela Rose, the leader of the Oregon State University Extension Service’s 4-H program. “They may explore a different culture, learn about an ecosystem, do rock climbing or make robots.”
No matter the activity, she said, youth involved with OSU Extension’s 4-H camps come away with four things: belonging, mastery, independence and generosity.
“From a development standpoint,” Rose said, “our most recent research tells us that when youth develop these traits, they have the ability to thrive.”
The camps are open to all kids, not just 4-H youth. They are held throughout the state, including at the Oregon 4-H Center in Salem. Cost varies by camp and scholarships are available.
Camp counselors create an atmosphere that fosters those attributes and give kids someone to look up to, she added.
“That’s really important to kids,” Rose said. “They think, ‘Wow, I’m pretty special.’ And they are.”
For many of the campers – 2,415 in Oregon last year – it’s the first time they’ve been away from home and the experience gives them a sense of independence and responsibility. They have to make decisions about everything from how they treat others to how to use their free time, Rose said.
“Camps do so much in a short but intense period,” Rose said. “It’s 24/7, not just a one-hour class. It’s pretty memorable.”
Check out the list of 4-H overnight camps this summer:
Clackamas County, July 20-25, fourth through eighth grades. Includes environmental education, arts and other camping activities. Contact: 503-655-8635.
Clatsop County, 4-H Summer Slumber, July 9-11, fourth through seventh grades. Kids learn to make rockets and the life of honeybees, all in a traditional camping atmosphere. Contact: 503-325-8573.
Columbia County, June 14-17, fourth through seventh grades. Wildlife programs, nature hikes and field games are a few of the activities. Contact: 503-393-3462.
Coos and Douglas counties, National Park Road Trip, July 7-10, fourth through sixth grades. Explore the science and culture of the U.S. National Parks. Contact: Teresa Middleton at 541-672-4461.
Curry County, Lobster Creek Camp, Aug. 12-15, third through fifth grades. Arts and nutrition education are among the activities. Contact: 541-247-6672.
Gilliam, Morrow and Wheeler counties, 4-H Camp, June 18-21, fourth through sixth grades. Contacts: Gilliam County, Monica Mitchell, 541-384-2274; Wheeler County, Amy Derby, 541-763-4115; Morrow County, Ashley Jones, 541-676-9642.
Grant and Harney counties, Heroes, Superheroes and Villains Camp, July 13-17, fourth through sixth grades. Includes natural resources classes, skits and traditional camping activities. Contact: 541-573-2506.
Hood River, Sherman, and Wasco counties, Camp Morrow, July 17-20, fourth through sixth grades. Features traditional camping activities. Contact: 541-296-5494.
Linn, Benton, Lincoln and Tillamook counties, Myths, Legends and Fairytales Camp, June 28-July 3, fourth through eighth grades. Hands-on classes with a natural resources theme. Contact: Linn County, 541-967-3871; Benton County, 541-766-6750; Lincoln County, 541-574-6534; Tillamook County, 541-842-3433.
Union, Baker and Wallowa counties, Eastern Oregon Tri-County Summer Camp, July 7-10, fourth through seventh grades. Includes natural resources activities. Contact: John Baggott at 541-963-1010.
Additional 4-H camps:
4-H Summer Conference, June 24 -27, Oregon State University campus, seventh to 12th grades. More than 80 classes, including visiting a logging site, dog agility, fly fishing, community service and educational speakers. Contact: Roberta Lundeberg, 541-737-9295.
4-H Wildlife Stewards Camp, July 28-Aug. 1, Oregon 4-H Center in Salem, third through sixth grades. Includes a hands-on restoration project, as well as wildlife tracking, bird watching, nature crafts, fishing and forestry. Contact: Maureen Hosty, 503-657-7385.
Geared toward Latino students throughout the state. Participants will learn about Lego robotics, natural resources, engineering, math, science, technology and health. They also explore cultural identity, leadership and the benefits of attending college. For physical activities, they swim, canoe, play volleyball, basketball, soccer and practice archery. Takes place at Oregon 4-H Center in Salem.
-- Third through fifth grades, July 9-12
-- Sixth through eighth grades, Aug. 4-8
-- Sixth through eighth grades (includes not only Latino youth, but also kids from other ethnic backgrounds), Aug 11-15