Valuable experiences provided through 4-H camping programs

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 9, 2017

By Matthew McClellan

Rowan County 4-H agent

In this installment, I want to talk about 4-H camping. Camping programs have been a part of 4-H almost since the beginning of 4-H.

The experiences and benefits gained through 4-H residential camping are well documented. Just a cursory search can find all sorts of testimonials about how great 4-H camping programs are. So now you might be asking if 4-H camping is so great — and it is, I promise — what does Rowan County 4-H offer and how do I get my children involved?

So let’s start with what Rowan County 4-H offers. We will offer a week-long summer program titled 4-H Survives! on June 26-30. This program, part of the 4-H Summer Fun! Series, will be for youth between the ages of 9 and 12 (boys and girls are welcome to participate) and will teach youth the basics of primitive camping, things like packing essentials, outdoor cooking and survival skills.

Youth in this course will also participate in shooting sports activities, fishing sports and hiking. The week will conclude with an overnight campout at one of North Carolina’s state parks. This program will be an amazing opportunity for youth to experience the outdoor opportunities here locally, learn more about this great state, and learn some lifetime recreational activities.

Another option to experience 4-H camping is to sign your child up for one of the residential camping weeks offered by the three state 4-H camping centers. North Carolina 4-H offers three different camping centers across the state. You can visit each center’s website to find out specific dates for residential camping weeks.

Rowan County 4-H will not have a formal camping week at one of the centers this year, instead focusing on the 4-H Survives! program to replicate many of the experiences that youth would receive at the 4-H Centers.

If you would like more information about residential camping at one of the state’s 4-H centers, please visit each center’s website. Once on the center’s website, you will be able to find costs, agendas and specialty camp information.

The centers offer more than just traditional summer camp experiences — everything from shooting sports camps to wildlife and boating to horsemanship camps. You can find a camp for nearly every interest.

• Millstone 4-H Center, Ellerbe —

• Betsy Jeff Penn 4-H Center, Reidsville —

• Eastern 4-H Center, Columbia —

If you are interested in signing up for any of our Summer Fun! series, please check our 4-H Facebook page ( or our Rowan County Cooperative Extension website for the registration information; it should be posted in the next week. If you have any questions about 4-H camping, please contact me at the Rowan County Extension office 704-216-8970.

Matthew McClellan is the Rowan County 4-H agent.