New 4-H agent says organization involves more than livestockPublished 9:29am Friday, July 5, 2013
Wakefield–“Around the World” Isle of Wight and Southampton Junior 4-H Camp took place at the Airfield Conference Center near Wakefield on June 24-28. This five-day overnight camp kicked off Airfield’s summer camping season with over 200 youths ages nine to 13 participating.
Camp activities included an option of 16 different classes ranging from gardening to riflery to a challenge course. Each participant chose three classes.
First-year camper Lane Cross, 9, of Zuni, participated in the challenge course, which had the express goal of teaching participants leadership skills. One of the group challenges was to make it through a “poison pit” using the limited resources of a few planks.
“I actually helped lead the group since I was one of the first ones to go,” Cross said. “It was really challenging because you had to be touching the planks at all times or they would take one away. I learned teamwork and communication at the challenge course.”
Noah Cardelino, 14, from Prince George, was another first-time camper. Throughout the year, Cardelino is an active member of the Swamp Shooters 4-H Shooting Sports Club in Southampton County.
Although Cardelino had never attended camp before, he was able to participate in a leadership role as a teen counselor due to his demonstrated leadership abilities. He had two words to describe his experience: crazy and fun.
Cardelino’s responsibilities as a teen counselor included supervising a cabin of six campers, assisting Airfield staff with the shotgun class and encouraging camper participation.
“Camp is good because you see shy people opening up, becoming more social, and meeting new friends,” Cardelino said.
Both Cross and Cardelino said they will return to camp next year, which is not uncommon for Isle of Wight and Southampton Junior 4-H Camp participants.
There were innumerable campers, counselors and staff who have attended camp for several years, including Justin Sumblin, 19, of Franklin. At age 14, Sumblin became a teen counselor for Southampton County, and has returned five consecutive years as a counselor or staff member.
Sumblin believes the 4-H program makes a positive impact on the youth involved because “everyone is so accepting and it releases inhibitions. It’s like making friends without the awkward first step,” he said. “It’s like family.”
During the closing ceremonies, Celia Brockway, the new 4-H Youth Development Agent for Isle of Wight and Southampton counties, promoted the 4-H program.
“The hidden secret about 4-H is that 4-H is not just available to these campers for a week in the summer, but rather year-round,” Brockway said.
From a distance, 4-H appears to involve only those youth interested in livestock and shooting sports; however, it encompasses more than these areas. Brockway encouraged parents to contact her about other special interests, ranging from fine arts to aerospace to entomology and more.
“At 4-H, the goal is to help today’s youth become enlivened about their interests while also teaching them leadership and citizenship,” she said.
The camp was organized by Isle of Wight and Southampton 4-H Youth Development Programs in conjunction with Airfield Conference Center staff, all a part of Virginia Cooperative Extension.
A donation by Murphy-Brown LLC made camp possible for several youths.
For more information about 4-H, visit http://4-h.ext.vt.edu/ or http://www.4-h.org/, or call the Isle of Wight County office at 365-6258 or the Southampton County office at 653-2572.
Contact the 4-H office by March 2014 if you have an interest in camp. Available spots fill up quickly.