With summer just around the corner, 4-H camps are completing facilities improvements to provide 4-H’ers with new and exciting activities that leave them eager to come back each year. At 4-H Camp Ohio, campers will challenge themselves on a new high ropes course. Local businesses, organizations, family, and friends came together to raise over $150,000 in funding for the new course. After the old course was retired in 2020, the goal was to create a better design with consistent maintenance and attention to detail, according to Adrienne Anderson, 4-H Camp Ohio board member and 4-H program coordinator from Licking County.
There are 12 elements to the course, where the philosophy of Challenge by Choice is utilized to help campers achieve success by looking at their personal goals, whether completing just one of the elements or all of them. This course is designed to push 4-H’ers out of their comfort zones and allows them to reach new heights!
The end of the course includes a zipline. Participating in this course promotes cooperation and determination, according to Jaymie Dumican, camp manager. Local businesses and groups also use this course for team-bonding activities.
Another new addition at 4-H Camp Ohio is the Creekside Classroom. This space is designed for group activities and storage while students are exploring the creek.
Youth at 4-H Camp Piedmont will love the addition of a beach swimming area on Piedmont Lake. Until funds are received to repair the swimming pool that dates to the 1960s, the camp has obtained a construction permit from the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District to add sand, a dock, and buoys to the waterfront.
Ohio 4-H Camp Whitewood is updating their dining facilities. The original building, built in 1940, is due for replacement, according to Andrew Hudak, executive director. The new building will be a space to feed campers and host groups, meetings, weddings, and other community events. Construction is currently in the planning phase, but funding is expected in the coming months, Hudak said.
New activities at Camp Whitewood include an updated boating program with new kayaks and stand-up paddleboards, along with an updated fishing program, new shooting sports equipment, and a birding trail to enhance nature education.
Ohio 4-H Camp Palmer is also working toward a new dining hall to replace the original camp building from 1947, Bill Goodson, executive director said. Though the vision is in the early stages of development, they have big dreams for this new space. New activities this year include a traverse wall that offers close ground climbing and hammocks in the outpost camp.
Ohio 4-H Camp Indian Hills is building a shooting sports range. The idea began with instructor and president of the Miami County Shooting Sports Program, Harry Vannus. His dream is for kids to be able to have a year-round shooting sports facility. The building will include indoor shoots in the winter (air rifle, air pistol, and archery), with a lean-to off the back that can help youth stay out of inclement weather and allow them to safely shoot.
All over the state, 4-H camp representatives are working to provide a great camp experience and a welcoming place to help youth thrive.
“Every year I hear stories from parents who were campers. Past campers whose great grandchildren attend camp will go out of their way to visit their old favorite place from their childhood. These are the memories we continue to foster in our campers in the hopes they will have stories about Camp Whitewood when their kids come to visit.”—Andrew Hudak