Why 4-H Camp Is Different

Research shows that youth who attend camps during the summer come away with so much more than what camping programs are given credit for. 4-H Camps have plenty to offer!

Marie Witzel, Dodge County 4-H Extension Agent believes that people sometimes overlook key elements 4-H Camp brings to kids. She talked about it with Pam Jahnke. Witzel says first of all, 4-H is intentional in some of the critical components they include in camp curriculum. She says 4-H agents refer to them as the “Essential Elements”.

Witzel says the essential elements she points to include: Belonging, Independence, Mastery, and Generosity.  She says its designed to meet the developmental needs of youth.  Witzel points to some examples.

What You Get

4-H Camp attendees experience a sense of Belongingthe first Essential Elementwhile being supported by camp staff, counselors, and 4-H Youth Development Professionals. Campers enjoy being in a safe place with their peers to learn and grow.  4-H accepts youth where they are and helps them ignite the spark that exist within them, enabling them to reach their potential.

The second Essential Element, is a key element that a residential or day camp provides.  Providing opportunity for youth to be independent thinkers. To better understand themselves. This independence develops at camp as youth learn to make decisions based on experiences and the knowledge they get at camp.

In order to develop the self-confidence needed for youth to feel they can be successful, camp provides many opportunities for Masterythe third Essential Element, to take place. Whether it is passing the swim test, learning a new skill, or leading a game, having that “I can do this” moment for a camper can make a positive impact on a young person’s life.

Finally, 4-H camps provide opportunities for youth to learn the importance of Generosity. This fourth Essential Element happens by learning and working with campers who may be different than they are.  Through planned program curriculum, team building and getting acquainted with activities, the campers learn to focus on what they have in common. They value the contributions of others who may not look or act like them.

So being away from home. Making new friends. Being a part of a team. Trying new things. These are all key building blocks that create a successful experience. It’s all designed to meet the developmental needs of youth. 4-H summer camp is that platform to create great memories and lasting relationships that can last a lifetime.            (Adapted from Marcus Boston Jr. University of Florida Extension)

Check out links on the Extension Dodge County Page to register: https://dodge.extension.wisc.edu/4-h-youth-development/camps/

If you have questions about the Dodge County 4-H Youth Development program or other extension programs please contact the office at 920-386-3790 or online at https://dodge.extension.wisc.edu/