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Learn life skills, have fun at 4-H summer camp

“Let's have a ball at 4-H Summer Camp.” That’s the theme of the summer 2013 4-H Camping at the Grant Walker 4-H Educational Center near Pollock. Registration will be available March 1, 2013. Contact your LSU AgCenter parish office about deadlines and details.

Read more about 4-H Summer Camp.

The first nine weeks of camp are open to fourth through sixth graders. And the last week of camp called LOST Camp for Louisiana Outdoor Science and Technology will be for seventh and eighth graders.

You do not have to be a 4-H member to attend 4-H camp, but you will need to contact your local parish extension office and the local 4-H agent.

Camp fees vary by parish, and the weeks are divided among the parishes, with about 5-9 parishes participating per week. Any parish can send seventh and eighth graders to LOST Camp, the last week.

Select a track

Although all campers share many of the same activities such as sports, swimming, crafts and games, each camper will select an educational track in which he or she will spend most of their time. In the track called “Explore Louisiana: Wetlands, Wildlife and YOU,” for example, the students will learn through games and activities about wildlife and plants that inhabit our swamps and marshes. They will study the wetlands and their value to the ecosystem.

In the “Outdoor Adventures” track, the participants learn the proper techniques to shoot a bow and small-bore rifle. 

In the "Food & Fitness" track, the campers will keep score of their healthy eating and exercise and do many nutrition-related and health-related activities.

The “Dramatic Arts” track continues to be a favorite with its own theater in the woods as part of the camp facilities. Campers explore the basics of theater, learn to use movement, voice and improvisation to create believable characters, and make silent films and commercials.

In the "Hunter Safety" track, the campers will learn all the hunter safety rules and receive a hunter safety certificate, which is good for a lifetime.

LOST Camp for the older kids will be a combination of science and outdoor skills education. The participants can choose among video editing, forensic science, alternative energy sources, robotics, rocketry, shooting firearms, and wetlands education – and more.

Camp Grant Walker

The camp, which is on Highway 8 about 15 miles northeast of Alexandria, was expanded to about 80 acres several years ago with the addition of 30 acres from the former Camp Windywood.

The long-term vision for the camp is as a year-round environmental education center as well as traditional 4-H summer camp, said Mark Tassin, Louisiana 4-H director. Because Camp Grant Walker is in the middle of the state, it is accessible to many schools for a one-day environmental field trip, Tassin said.

New this year is the Environmental Center, which includes a new building, a pond, a wetland area, a shotgun and rifle range, and an archery range. The hunter safety, outdoor skills and wetland educational tracks all occur in this facility.

Camp counselors

The 4-H camp is designed to provide younger kids with their first experience away from home to help them learn responsibility and self-reliance. But the camp also offers leadership opportunities for high school-aged kids through the counselor program.

Nearly 300 teens are trained each year at 4-H leadership workshops in every region of the state to be camp counselors. 

What camp experience means

When 4-H alumni reminisce, they invariably point to 4-H camp, if they attended, as one of the highlights of their lives.

“For many, it was their first time away from home,” Tassin said. “They had to learn to make new friends and to try new things. They had to learn teamwork skills.”

In a survey of former campers and their parents, Tassin found tangible evidence of the value of the camping experience:

For the campers—

  • 100% learned to do their share when working with others.
  • 98% met new people they would like to stay in touch with and want to go back to camp next year.
  • 93% learned to complete jobs they were responsible for and the importance of being on time.

For the campers’ parents—

  • 100% felt the benefits of camp outweighed the cost; they were glad they sent their children to camp.
  • 93% said their children were more willing to try to things because of camp.
  • 90% felt their children gained self-confidence and respect for others.

“Camping is a unique learning opportunity,” Tassin said. “At 4-H camp we offer a nurturing, caring environment where everybody gets the chance to have fun and learn something new.”

The LSU AgCenter is one of 10 institutions of higher education in the Louisiana State University System. Headquartered in Baton Rouge, it provides educational services in every parish and conducts research that contributes to the economic development of the state. The LSU AgCenter does not grant degrees nor benefit from tuition increases. The LSU AgCenter plays an integral role in supporting agricultural industries, enhancing the environment, and improving the quality of life through its 4-H youth, family and community programs.

Last Updated: 3/8/2013 10:13:12 AM

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point of contact
Bergeron, Christine
Tassin, Mark G.
LSU AgCenter