4-H'ers spend timeat camp,
We left it all at home. There are no cell phones, no mp3 players and no video games at camp.
The cabins have no television or air conditioning.
Sixty-seven Newton County 4-H’ers, ages 9 to 12, braved the wilderness with a week of Camp Wahsega.
And yet, the kids aren’t sure they even want to go home.
As I write this, we’re down to only about 12 hours of camp and the 4H’ers are torn.
“If I had a choice to go home, and to stay here forever, I don’t know which one I’d do. Really I want to go home because I miss my family, and I want to stay here because it’s really fun, but I also want to go home,” one young man told me tonight.
It’s easy for me to see why each kid has fallen in love with our 4-H camp in the mountains.
Monday, we settled into our one-room log cabins around the Wahsega pond, filled up our water bottles and immediately kicked off a high-energy week with the collegiate camp counselors.
Days start at 7 a.m. with cleaning for the coveted Clean Cabin Clover award and end with lights out after 11 p.m.
Campers take turns serving on “kitchen patrol” to set up the cafeteria and clean up after meals.
Each day we have family group meetings where campers learn cheers and skits as well as class sessions.
Classes include archery, herpetology, stream ecology, gold panning, healthy living and ultimate Frisbee.
We swim in the pond and play in the waterfall when the lifeguards are on duty at each, and kids splash in the creek all day long.
The talent show on Wednesday night brought out the best singers, dancers, cheerleaders and actors in camp.
I dressed up along with the kids for the hillbilly costume contest and tried to use my 5 foot inflatable alligator to eat the competition, but it didn’t work. Anna Mullinax managed to evade the alligator and win the gold coin.
Some campers came to camp with siblings, cousins or friends, but many came barely knowing anyone.
You’d never know it, though, by looking around camp. I can’t even tell which kids are ours and which are from Rockdale any more.
Oh, and it wouldn’t be camp without a crush on a counselor.
The girls have figured out he’s somewhere between 18 and 32 (I’m sure he’s going to be thrilled to hear the high end of that range!), and are trying to figure
Target practice: out when they’ll all be old enough to date him.
We’ve had scraped knees and elbows, hurt feelings, home sickness and a few more serious bumps and bruises, but overall it’s been another incredible week of camp.
I’ve asked around and there’s no consensus on what the best part of the week is, although tubing the river, spending money in the canteen and playing in the waterfall seem to come up a lot.
A lot of kids also mention the high ropes course. One of the greatest parts of Camp Wahsega is that every camper is guaranteed a chance to conquer the high ropes elements.
“I overcame my fear of heights, doing the zip line, flying squirrel and climbing wall,” said a female camper.
When asked if she’d do it again, she said, “oh yeah!”
Not everyone chooses to try out the high ropes, but every kid can tell me something they’ve done
Columnist for the first time this week, even if it’s just watching the chickens walking around over behind some of the boys cabins.
Most have never played in a creek, or observed a snake in the wild.
Several have never had to sweep a floor or pack their own suitcase.
I’m confident that each and every 4-H’er will never forget this incredible week of 4-H camp.
We couldn’t do it without the incredible volunteers and teen leaders who give up a week to chaperone, drive, comfort and guide our youth.
Thanks to David Dorsey, Dianna Galloway, Doug Kimble, Colleen Lewis, Patrick Turi, Ken Galloway, Mary Lathem, Michelle Lewis and Liz Simpson.
We’d also like to thank Mama Bear Christin and all the excellent Wahsega Bears for leading a summer we’ll never forget here in Newton County.
Terri Kimble is the 4-H Educator for Newton County 4-H. She can be reached at (770) 784-2010.
Newton County 4-H’ers prepare for Archery Class during their two-week stay at Camp Wahsega.