CRESTVIEW — Looking for something for the kids to do this summer?
Okaloosa County 4-H is having its annual summer camp June 4 through 8 at Camp Timpoochee in Niceville.
Registration is open until April 30 for campers ages 8 to 12 and counselors ages 13 to 18.
This year’s camp will include activities like fishing, kayaking, archery and outdoor skills. It will also include social events such as creative dramatics, a talent showcase, a movie night and field games.
The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension in Okaloosa County coordinates 4-H programs throughout the county, including clubs on Eglin Air Force Base and Hurlburt Field.
Taylor Wilken is the extension’s 4-H youth development agent who oversees the programs. She said kids that go to the 4-H camps learn valuable life skills and often come back for future camps.
“A lot of our teens, there’s a lot more camps for them throughout the year,” Wilken said. “So once they go to one, they want to be with all their friends at all the other ones, so they learn a lot of life skills that way.”
Wilken also talked about the benefits of the 4-H program in general.
“A lot of the kids learn life skills like responsibility, because a lot of them take care of their own animals or they have a certain project that they’re responsible for,” she said. “A lot of them have said that they’ve gotten out of their shell because they’re in front of a lot of people and they’re social.”
Among those skills are things like public speaking, photography and especially leadership.
“It’s mainly youth-driven. So what we do is have our older kids or any of the youths teach their class, and we just basically supply everything and make sure that they’re comfortable teaching each other,” she said.
Okaloosa 4-H isn’t just limited to agriculture. The program incorporates a wide range of activities, particularly in the camps on the military bases.
“We have our doghouse club, which is dog training mainly, and then we have a livestock one and then we have our animal science one,” Wilken said. “Both bases, the most they do with animals is they have guinea pigs and fish, so they’re more into the gardening, the photography, the arts, the sketches; they do a lot of the robotics. Computer coding is a big one there.”
To register for 4-H summer camp, go to http://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/okaloosa or call (850) 689-5850.