Youth ages 8 to 18 will have an opportunity to learn new skills while having fun at the North Dakota 4-H Camp this summer.
The fully modern camp is on 80 acres nestled in the cottonwoods along the Missouri River near Washburn, N.D. The facility was updated in 2013 and an outdoor education building was added in 2018. The cabins and other facilities are air-conditioned.
“The North Dakota 4-H Camp has been committed to providing a safe environment where youth build new friendships, master new skills, and gain independence and confidence for more than 50 years,” says Karla Meikle, North Dakota State University Extension’s 4-H youth development agent in Morton County. 4-H is an NDSU Extension program.
The 4-H Camp program is staffed by NDSU Extension agents, state specialists and volunteers who are experts in their field. They design the camps to provide campers with a solid foundation of knowledge and experience to strengthen their abilities.
The camp also has counselors who care for campers, monitor camp chores and conduct the recreational activities. All camp staff strive to be mentors and positive role models for the campers.
A variety of camps are offered every summer. They include special-topic camps, such as the Livestock Camp and Hardcore Archery Camp, which have a hands-on educational component. The Livestock Camp teaches youth to improve their animal care, handling and show skills, Hardcore Archery Camp is three days of intense archery activities designed to improve practice and shooting skills.
Other camps, such as the Adventure Camps, are packed with a variety of content and fun hands-on activities such as robotics, rocketry, shooting sports, crafts and cooking. Other 4-H camp experiences include fishing, flying drones, caring for small animals, geocaching, learning about soils and woodworking.
“These provide youth with a perfect opportunity to try out a new interest,” says Lindsey Leker, NDSU Extension’s 4-H youth development science specialist.
The Outdoor Skills, Whopper Club Fish Camp and Survivor Outdoor Recreation camps are very popular camps. The Whopper Club Fish Camp is for youth who want a fishing experience to better their understanding of equipment, fish biology and techniques. Survivor Outdoor Recreation Camp teaches teamwork and problem solving, with tribes competing in challenges for the coveted immunity idol and special privileges.
Two new camps are being offered this year: Energy Camp and Entrepreneurship Camp. Campers in the Energy Camp will spend a week learning about energy science and job opportunities in that field, interacting with North Dakota energy leaders and taking advantage of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to tour energy assets across western North Dakota.
Campers in the Entrepreneurship Camp will experience how entrepreneurs innovate, think creatively, build teams, collaborate and develop the skills necessary to pitch a new product or service.
In addition to the planned educational programs, each counselor will lead recreational opportunities such as hiking on walking trails, getting dirty in the mud pit, archery, Dutch oven cooking, evening campfires, going down the waterslide and dances. The ga-ga pits are a popular attraction at the camp. A waterslide and obstacle course were added in 2019.
“We strive to make each child’s camping experience safe, fun, educational and memorable,” says Adrian Biewer, an NDSU Extension 4-H youth development specialist. “We have campers who return for multiple camps each season and have returned for as many as eight years in a row.”
Camps also include a Healthy Camp Challenge in which campers get points for making healthful food choices, having healthful habits and getting exercise. In addition, campers can win the Golden Plunger Award for cabin neatness.
“Our campers become more confident to try new things, and they learn to solve problems, building their confidence and feeling better about themselves,” Meikle says. “The camp program teaches them lifelong skills while having fun.”
The cost of the camps varies. Scholarships will be available for the Energy and Entrepreneurship camps.
Registration is open for the 2020 camps. Visit https://ndsu.edu/4h/camp for the camp schedule and descriptions. Contact the Extension office in your county for more information. Also check out the camp Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ND4HCAMP to see the fun campers had last year.