4-H Summer Camp Survival Guide for Volunteers (and Agents, too!)

Sidney Rainwater, Holmes, Lisa W.  |  5/9/2014 7:34:21 PM

4-H camp

It’s almost that time of year! 4-H Summer Camp, here we come! 4-H’ers are excited, parents are anxious, and 4-H agents are busy with registration and preparation. In this day and time, adult volunteers are vital to the success of our summer camping program. Because of economic issues, we have less 4-H agents on staff to effectively chaperone summer campers; therefore, adult volunteers are recruited to help with supervision and implementation of camp activities. I’ve been camping at Grant Walker Educational Center for 30 years, and it never gets old. 4-H Summer Camp is the best opportunity for 4-H’ers, teens and adults to experience so many things and learn new skills.

Volunteers do not realize how important they are to the camping experience. In the cabins, when there is only one agent, a volunteer fills the role of that second adult in our “two-deep leadership” policy for overnight camping events. Supervision in the cabin is essential for our campers’ safety and well-being. Volunteers also participate in job assignments while at camp, including tracks, recreation rotations, pool duty and other important responsibilities. Summer camp is not a “rest and relaxation” camp for adults. Our job for those five days is to ensure that those young people have the best week of their lives!

If you are a parent of a camper, please don’t go to camp to focus on your own child. Remember that you will be there for ALL the campers. This is a pitfall that many parent volunteers get into. It is not fair to the other adults involved or the other campers.

It’s vital that volunteers maintain a positive attitude throughout the week. Otherwise, you will have a miserable experience. No whining is allowed. Yes, we will be tired, ache all over, get very little sleep and deal with homesick kids, but we must look past ourselves and focus on those young people and the reward of our week’s work. Making the week fun and having a great attitude will help us all get through the week in a more positive way!

Remember:

  • To bring a positive attitude
  • To bring comfortable walking shoes
  • To focus on all kids
  • To be present during your job assignments
  • To have fun
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