Jefferson County's 4H young people enjoyed a variety of day camps for various age groups, and one week-long away camp at Cherry Lake in Madison this summer. The camps, centered around the theme of “Exploring 4H Through Learning By Doing,” promoted positive activities that promoted positive youth development in academic, social and personal areas, in gaining confidence, through better connections with family and peers, through character development and caring and compassion. Here's a look at our 4H camps and what our campers accomplished and learned in each one.
5 to 7-year-old camp
Campers went on field trips to Beau Turner Youth Conservation Center (Fishing) and MaClay Gardens State Park (Swimming). Youth made crafts to fine tune their motor skills and encourage creativity, as well as participating in organized recreation. By midweek, campers participated in three rotations of classes that consisted of My 4-H Clover Craft, Banana Wrap, and Chick Chain Project. After the classes, youth participated in the Green and White Puzzle, Ball and Chain and Musical Chairs.
Another highlight was their visit to the R. J. Bailar Library. Campers heard some awesome storytelling and made a craft. Thanks to the Jefferson County Health Dept., youth participated in Healthiest Weight Florida. The kids learned how to make choices about healthy eating and active living. Our amazing 4-H campers also cooked their very own breakfast on a tin can in the outdoor cookery class. They prepared pancakes, bacon, sausage, eggs, and toast.
Special thanks to our partners for making the camp a success, the Jefferson County R. J. Bailar Public Library, Jefferson County Health Dept., and the Beau Turner Youth Conservation Center.
8 to 9-year-old camp
The 8-9 year-old day camp was full of fun, excitement, and learning.
Dr. Janice Peters from FAMU Entomology Department and her staff brought exotic insects from around the world. The campers had an opportunity to ID various species of insects and learn about their different habitats, body parts, how they communicate and which insects can walk on water. The 4H campers then put their entomology skills to work, collecting insects at the Extension Office.
Campers went on field trips to Beau Turner Youth Conservation Center (Fishing) and MaClay’s Garden State Park (Swimming). At they North Florida Community College Observatory, they got a mini astronomy lesson as they explored space, as well as learning to operate robotic arms and learning about the mechanisms of drones.
In addition, they learned to set financial goals and to save their money in their handcrafted piggy banks. Dr. Andrea Albertin, UF IFAS Water Resource Regional Specialized Agent, allowed the camper to sein for aquatic insects and plants and later ID them. Dr. Greg Glass, UF Entomologist showed the camper how to tick fish. Campers explored the site fishing for ticks and within 30 minutes caught nine.
Golden Acres Ranch is always a big hit with youth. Can you tell the difference between a kid and a lamb? Jefferson County 4-H campers can! This was one of the first questions that Ms. Golden asked campers as they toured her farm. They put their knowledge to the test and identify goats versus sheep as they continued their tour identifying character traits that distinguished goats from sheep and make an informed educated guess on the animals.
Our very rambunctious 8-9 year campers also visited Walker & Sons Dairy, toured Jefferson County EMS facilities, made ice cream in a bag and went on a health scavenger hunt. On the 4H Nature Trail, they learned how to use GPS to find hidden treasures and participated in the outdoor cookery class.
Special thanks to our partners for making the camp a success, Golden Acres Ranch-LLC, Walker & Sons Dairy, Jefferson County Fire & EMS, Jefferson County Health Dept., North Florida Community College, and the Beau Turner Youth Conservation Center.
Wildlife Day Camp
(9 to 15-year olds)
Sixty-two campers from Jefferson and Leon Counties attended the Multi-County 4-H Wildlife Day Camp. During the morning, participants rotated through Forestry, Conservation, and Wildlife. After lunch, the kids participated in shooting sports and quiet time activities.
The Forestry team consisted of David Poletti, Florida Forest Service, Wakulla County Forester, Mr. Ryan Slyter, Wakulla County Forester, FFS, Daniel Stevens, Wakulla County Forester and Tom Gilpin, Bear Creek Senior Forester. Campers participated in tree planting, natural regeneration, plant identification, tree ring counting, forest measurement, forest history and dendrochronology.
The Conservation team consisted of Allen Vanerson FAMU/Jefferson County Extension Program Assistant, Kayla Welchel, Leon County Volunteer Leader and Ms. Andrea Albertin, NW District Water Specialist. Campers participated in hands-on activities soil erosion and compaction, soil texture determination, orienteering-compass training, and geocaching.
The Wildlife team consisted of Alexander Boswell, Leon County 4H Program Assistant, Kelly Thomas- Leon County Horticulture Program Assistant and Julianne Shoup, Jefferson County Family and Consumer Science Agent. Campers learned how to set and bait live traps. They also dissected owl pellets to identify the food source of the animal’s diet and learned outdoor cookery.
For Aquatic Day, campers went to Lake Lafayette Heritage Park in Leon County. The youth fished, canoed, collected and identified aquatic insects and plants. Mr. David Moody, St. Marks Wildlife Refuge Wildlife Officer demonstrated how to fillet and cook fish. Afternoon sessions consisted of shooting sports with air rifles and archery, and on the last day, marksmanship competitions. They also had a chance to see and touch local artifacts presented by Dr. Willet Boyer, a professional archeologist. The camp culminated with snow cones and goody bags from the staff.
Camp Cherry Lake
Jefferson County has the highest rate of participation in the weeklong Camp at Cherry Lake in Madison, Florida, earning our 115 campers the honor of having the camp facilities to themselves this year. This year's camp theme was “Circus.”
Along with the traditional swimming, kayaking, marshmallow paint wars, and a campfire with a wiener roast, campers also went on a road trip to the Fun Station and attended a camp dance the following night. However, 4-H camp is more than just fun and games; campers attended daily educational classes that focused on healthy life styles, Aquatic World, Nature Exploration, 4-H Science Mission DUCT TAPE, Outdoor Skills/GPS, & Orienteering, Sports Fishing/Angler Education, creative dramatics, Mad Science 101, frogs and amphibians, and supervised recreation.
Thanks to our faithful camp sponsors, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Bailar, Michael and Rebekah Henderson, Kenneth Lee King, Nick and Elaine Prine, C. Rebecca Clayton, Neill G. Wade, Mitchell L McElroy, Tri-County Electric Cooperative, Inc. - H. Julius Hackett, Shirley Washington, Pinckney Hill Farm, LLC, Phyllis S Kennedy, Avalon Plantation, DP Research, Jefferson SWCD, Jefferson County VFW Post 251, Katheryn Cox, Lloyd Nursery - Peter Kantor, Monticello Garden Club, Fred Beshears, Kiwanis Youth INC., William Nelson, Founders Circle Garden Club, Jacqueline L Dupont, Hiram Lodge 5, Gramling's Electric, Donna Dowler, Mr. and Mrs. Barnhart, Evenly Hagan, Monticello Rotary Club, Mack and Betsy Barfield, American Legion Auxiliary, Mr. and Mrs. Barbara Kirksey, Mr. Willie Wilson, John Lilly, Pastor Kass Brooks, All God’s Children Outreach Ministry (Ms. Willie Ann Dickey), Monticello Altrusa Club, and Farmers and Merchants Bank. Thanks again donors for investing in our youth and “MAKING THE BEST BETTER.”
4H Pledge: “I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service, and my health to better living, for my club, my community, my country and my world.”