Fun lures 4-H'ers to summer camp

June 08, 2004|ANN R. HARNEY

HARRODSBURG - Ninety Mercer County 4-H'ers will leave June 21 for 4-H Camp, and for many of them, this will be a return trip.

Two veteran campers say they return each year mainly because it's fun. 4-H'ers can attend camp between the ages of 9-13.

Ashley Pyle is 13, and this will be her fourth and last year at camp. "It's always been fun," she said. "The first day you're home, you're ready to go back."

Next year she plans to be a counselor in training and the year after that a junior counselor.

Camp includes classes such as nature, canoeing, riflery and boating. Pyle said last year she took recreation, chalk art and sewing. She hopes to take swimming and soccer this year in addition to recreation.


Soccer is new this year, Pyle said.

The 50-minute classes are scheduled to begin at 9,10 and 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. The rest of the day is crowded with other activities including games and competitions, and of course three meals a day.

For Brandon Camic, 17, this will be his third year as a junior counselor and his eighth year at camp. He will assist a staff member with the canoeing classes and will assist an adult volunteer counselor in one of the cabins that holds 15-20 campers.

"I just like working with kids," Camic said. "It's a place to go to get away for a while with people my own age."

His responsibilities include getting campers to their meals and classes and just general counseling, or as Camic puts it, "making sure they don't cause chaos."

Mercer campers will be in Carlisle with Jessamine campers

The 90 Mercer County campers will share the North Central 4-H Camp at Carlisle with 210 campers from Jessamine County. Dana Anderson, 4-H agent in Mercer County, will be program director for the week for both counties.

Camp has a theme each year; this year's theme is the Simple Life, and Anderson told prospective campers that some of the games and competitions will be farm related. Twenty Mercer County campers will rough it this year by participating in what the camp calls outpost or primitive camping.

Their days and nights will be similar to other campers, but they will prepare their morning and evening meals over fire or a camping stove. There will be no electricity, no telephones and no plumbing. A port-a-pot will be provided, and they can use the showers in the main camp area.

Bobbie White, Mercer 4-H program assistant, and one or two adult volunteer counselors from Mercer County will join the outpost campers.

Some campers may think they are roughing it, even though they will be camping with the larger group in cabins and eating all of their meals in the dining hall. At orientation classes last week, Anderson told those planning to attend camp that cell phones and hand-held game units will not be allowed at the camp, nor will radios and stereos. She said there would be music made available by the counselors in each cabin.

All staff and volunteers go through background checks before working at camp, she said.

Campers can pay for most of the camp with community service

The cost for attending camp is $100, but prospective campers can earn up to $80 with community service. Ten hours of community service with any non-profit organization will earn the campers one scholarship of $40 toward camp costs; 20 hours earn $80.

"There are no free rides," Anderson said. "Community service gets them involved with the community."

While only 90 Mercer Countians will go to camp this year, there are 1,600 4-H'ers enrolled in school clubs.

A 4-H day camp will be held for the first time this week, beginning Wednesday at Anderson-Dean Community Park. Campers will take classes in manners, forestry, fitness, woodworking, rocketry, and crafts. Campers will be split into age groups, and next year, Anderson said, the day camp will be expanded to a three-day day camp for each age group.

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