The Hathorn Fitness and Nature Trail at Grant Walker Educational Center, the Louisiana 4-H campground, received a makeover this year, adding another fun activity to the 4-H camping adventures center in Pollock. Director Christine Bergeron said the interactive trail offers an exciting recreation component for every child attending summer camp.
“The trail doesn’t take a long time to complete. Everyone can do it, and all of the activities can be modified for individual challenges,” Bergeron said.
The trail was established in 1988 by members of the Louisiana Association of Extension 4-H Agents in honor of LSU AgCenter 4-H specialist and longtime camp manager Kellett Hathorn upon his retirement. Hathorn, who was recognized nationally as a summer camp authority, died in 2008.
“Teen members of the state 4-H Food and Fitness Board scouted each station, taking photos, collecting notes and marking the GPS locations to help re-establish the camp trail,” said Jessica Stroope, the AgCenter 4-H Healthy Living coordinator.
Grant Parish 4-H Food and Fitness Board member Myranda Smith said it was exciting to take part in the decision-making process to restore the trail.
“It’s pretty cool knowing that generations will enjoy it,” Smith said.
With 18 stops along a route that meanders through remote areas of the campground, the trail encourages campers to explore the environment while exercising to achieve personal fitness goals.
Each stop along the trail features signs illustrating an exercise and the number of repetitions to perform. Activities along the route include walking lunges, chin-ups, squats, bench steps, wall and rope climbing, and the horizontal ladder, vault and balance beam.
Bergeron said campers had missed swimming in the creek over the past few years. The creek is now reopened for swimming. Because the trail incorporates creek, pond and stream areas, supervision by trained personnel ensures safety for all campers, she said.
“The youth loved the trail!” Bergeron said. “The kids were encouraging to one another, cheering each other on to try tasks again."
Camp Volunteering by the Numbers
4-H Summer Camp is the first interaction with the 4-H program for many youth.Therefore, it is a critical touch- point for the 4-H program. Summer Camp would not be possible without volunteers who serve with their parishes as adult chaperones and youth camp counselors.During summer 2018, 4-H Summer Camp volunteers volunteered the following:
Adult Volunteers: 188
Youth Camp Counselors: 405
Hours of Volunteer Time: 44,475
Value of Volunteer Time*: $1,098,087.75
*Estimated National Value of Each Volunteer Hour based on the Independent Sector (https://independentsector.org)
This article appears in the Louisiana 4-H 2019 Annual Report.
Members of the Louisiana 4-H Food and Fitness Board explore the revitalized Hathorn Fitness and Nature Trail at the Grant Walker Education Center.