4-H Camp connects children with animals, nature – not video games

By Wesley LeBlanc Staff Writer
Posted 6/12/19

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Children can learn skills that would be useful not only on a farm or around animals, but skills that would help them in a business meeting at the annual Agricultural and …

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4-H Camp connects children with animals, nature – not video games

Posted

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Children can learn skills that would be useful not only on a farm or around animals, but skills that would help them in a business meeting at the annual Agricultural and Animals 4-H Camp.

Hosted by the UF/IFAS Extension office located at the Clay County Fairgrounds, participating children from 5-to-10 can enjoy daily activities and field trips that UF/IFAS 4-H Agent Stephanie Conner hopes they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.

And they can do so for an all-inclusive $120 for the four-day camp.

“This has morphed into something bigger than what it was when we first started it,” Conner said. “Now, it incorporates hands-on activities with community service and more. In addition to learning about animals and their habitats, these children are giving public presentations now, too.”

Conner said that by teaching the children about animals, their habitats and how to care for them, all while teaching them about community service and public speaking, she hopes to see these children excel in wherever they choose to go in life.

“We have 5-year-olds developing the skills to speak publicly that they might not learn otherwise until their 12 or 13 years old,” Conner said. “I think that’s amazing.”

Children aren’t forced to give massive make-or-break presentations. Conner said they might simply speak about what they learned that day or something else along those lines. According to her, it’s less about what they’re saying and how they’re saying it and how that information is communicated.

When they aren’t giving presentations, they might be on one of the camp’s many field trips, which are included in the camp’s price. One of the field trips is dubbed the Community Service Day, or Marine Day, because the campers go to the beach and take part in a scavenger hunt. But instead of clues and treasure, the campers will be picking up trash.

“We typically go to the beach on Marine Day and find shells and teeth, but we also do a scavenger hunt,” Conner said. “Whoever finds the most trash wins. Of course, there are adults with them to supervise and make sure they don’t pick up anything dangerous like glass, though.”

It’s on this day that Conner said the children will learn about the dangers of cigarette buds, plastic and more and their effects on pollution in the ocean. In between the public presentations and field trips, campers can expect to go hands-on with many different farm animals. Conner said the camp will teach the children how to work with these animals, what their habitats are like and how they communicate non-verbally.

The goals of this camp are to provide a safe learning experience and to give them something to do during the summer break that doesn’t include playing video games all day, Conner said. She also said the camp strives to help children develop communication skills and community service awareness. The third and final goal is to help children develop behaviors that will spark greatness in them as they grow up.

If these goals sound great to you and if you’re interested in the camp, you can search for 2019 Agricultural and Animals 4-H Camp Tickets and for $120, tickets can be purchased on the camp’s EventBrite page.

The $120 includes field trip transportation and snacks. Children are responsible for their own lunches.

The camp takes place from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily, although drop-off and pick-up times are more flexible to work around parents’ work schedules.

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