4-H Camping: Nostalgia and Anticipation

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Justin Crowe, 4-H Youth Development Director and State Leader

Last week, I had the opportunity to travel to West Tennessee and visit Lone Oaks Farm to see, first hand, the work happening there. Specifically, I was interested in learning more about the 4-H center that is scheduled to break ground this fall. Youth and adults will be in for a treat when we are ready to open the 4-H center there. There are tons of exciting activities and programs planned for youth who will visit. Of course, school groups and 4-H clubs are already visiting Lone Oaks Farm for STEM programs, leadership development activities, and more.

This week I am visiting our other residential camping facilities: W.P. Ridley in Columbia, Clyde M. York in Crossville, and Clyde Austin in Greeneville. Each of these 4-H centers have something special to offer the youth who camp there. Thousands of 4-H members call one of these 4-H centers home for a week each summer, learning how to swim, having fun on the zip-line, and making lots of new friends.

As we know, this summer is different.  As I type this message from the 4-H center in Columbia, there are  no campers running around laughing. I don’t see any teen or adult leaders helping the youth with crafts. 4-H agent co-workers should be here, taking care of a skinned knee or consoling a home sick camper. Instead, I am see managers at all of our facilities who are being flexible and working to reach youth in other ways. I  see where staff members are filming educational videos to promote learning and fun to youth at camp. Some youth have even ordered the 4-H “Camp in a Box” offered by the Clyde. M. York 4-H Center, where they can have a little piece of camp from their living room.

This year has been challenging for everyone, but thanks to our 4-H center staff who realized early on that while we can’t have youth at camp, we can take camp to them. Want to see some of the awesome videos organized by our 4-H camp staff, please like Tennessee 4-H on Facebook. While you are at it, like the 4-H center and Lone Oak Farms pages, too! Check them all out at the links below!