BUCKHANNON –Several 4-H camps are returning to the Upshur County Youth Camp in Selbyville this summer.
Craig Presar, WVU extension agent for 4-H Youth Development, said the camps this summer will be converted into day camps, allowing participants to experience 4-H activities in a safe and fun environment.
“The first one will be June 6, 7 and 8 — that’s the Upshur County older day camp, so that will be kids 13 and up,” Presar said. “We’re going to run from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. That’ll give us time after dinner to go up and do our traditional council circle program and have the campfire, which is a big part of camp, so that was important.”
The camp for ages 9 through 12 will take place June 10, 11 and 12, also from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
“We are very aware that Selbyville is a little bit out of the way to drive in and out every day, so as people are registering, we’re offering transportation in the morning,” Presar said. “It looks like we’re going to be able to just take care of picking people up at certain spots. It’s only going to be a handful of kids, so I may rent a 15-passenger van, but there is a transportation option available in the morning.”
The two camps will operate under a wild west theme, so there will be activities such as roping, cowboy hats, cowboy songs and possibly horses.
“I know the younger camp is going to have soap making, because one of my team leaders has her own business making soaps,” Presar said. “We’re going to have fishing, we’ll have different arts and crafts classes, and recreation. We’ll also have assemblies where we do something educational, whether that’s a science activity or it could be someone coming out and talking about what it was like to be a cowboy.”
Interested parties can register at https://4h.zsuite.org/event-registrations/6683, but the deadline for the wild west camps is May 28.
“I’m just so excited to be able to do something in person with our kids, that’s going to be great,” Presar said. “Last summer was the first time since 1976 I haven’t spent at least one week in 4-H camp, so it was kind of crushing. It was just so sad to not be able to give kids those experiences.”
On June 16 and 17, 4-H is offering two days of shooting sports at the Upshur County Youth Camp.
“They have to be currently 12 years old to attend that camp,” Presar said. “We’ll focus on the shotgun on June 16 and muzzle loading on June 17. On both days we will also be offering archery and a hunting safety course. They’re not going to get certified in a hunter education, but we’ll have those types of classes. We’re going to focus on wildlife, so hunting and tracking skills, but also learning about wildlife management.”
The educational gun courses cost $35 for one day and $60 for both.
“We go through all the safety trainings, so they’ll have to demonstrate they can follow the rules and do things safely before we allow them to start taking shots,” Presar said. “It’s been tremendous program. We have our very strong archery and air rifle teams, and this is just another part of the 4-H shooting sports curriculum to give kids a chance to do new things.”
On July 6 and 7, 4-H has partnered with the Department of Environmental Protection to offer an education camp called “Save Our Streams.”
“The first day will be for kids 13 and up who are interested in water ecology or becoming a field biologist,” Presar said. “We’re going to do hands-on stuff that folks from DEP and field biologists do — for example, test the pH and oxygen levels of the water and an electric fish survey where they run electric currents.”
The July 7 camp will be intended for younger kids interested in science.
“We’ll learn about watersheds, we’ll learn about water safety and water quality, and we’ll do another fish survey,” Presar said. “It’s going to be very hands-on ecology and watershed programming.”
Those days will cost $25, but Presar said anyone interested in participating and worried about the cost should call the WVU Extension Office at 304-473-4208.
“If people need financial assistance, we have some very generous donors so we’re definitely going to be able to help those who need it,” Presar said. “We never want to make a cost of an event something that keeps a kid from participating.”