Resources for Planning a 4-H Camp
Camp Assessment Tool: Assess and Plan for Your Camp's Needs
Each year overnight camps are held throughout the nation as part of the 4-H program. In California, 4-H camps are administered through local county Cooperative Extension offices with the support of teen leaders, 4-H volunteers and 4-H staff. Each 4-H camping program operates independently based on the needs of the attendees and the resources located within the county.
Staff responsible for planning, implementing, and supervising a 4-H camp may have a high level of experience in camp operations, or may be relative newcomers. The most important element is that they are individuals who want to provide a safe camp experience that promotes positive youth development.
The Camp Administration Assessment Tool is designed for both the novice and veteran camp administrator. The assessment tool has two purposes:
- Planning Tool: To help those planning the camp identify strengths and weaknesses, and to provide additional resources to improve their knowledge and skills.
- Training Development: To gather data from those who have a role in the management or operation of a 4-H camp to inform the development of training materials and resources to support camp administrators.
The assessment addresses thirteen core areas in the administration of an overnight camp. It is recommended that the person(s) responsible for each assessment area complete the assessment for that area. Upon completion of each assessment, users will be linked to a resource page with additional resources for that area.
- Business & Finance
- Paid & Volunteer Staff
- Outreach & Inclusion
- Mission & Purpose
- Food Service
- Risk Management
- Participant Development & Behavior
- Health & Wellness
- Site & Facility
- Program Design & Activities
Caring for the safety of campers and staff is a priority in 4-H camp programs. Participants and parents should know that plans and training help assure a safe environment — both physically and emotionally. The California Health and Safety Code for organized camps specifies how camps should prepare for safe operation. The California 4-H Camp Safety Guidebook provides information and templates to assist 4-H camps in meeting these state requirements.
Camp Risk Assessment Workbook
The Camp Risk Assessment Workbook (doc) is approved for use in planning and conducting California’s 4-H Youth Development Program Camps. It is intended to promote safety and provides guidelines in the management of emergency situations. The workbook offers a set of tools to develop risk management plans and provides worksheets related to the critical areas of crisis and risk management planning for site and facilities, administration, camp program operation, personnel and health and safety.
Training Teen Staff
Counselor-in-Training: Encouraging Youth Development Outcomes at Camp is a just-published guide to assist camp directors and CIT directors in developing teens in camp leadership. Drawn from research and designed to help young staff understand their role in creating a great camp experience, the training sessions allow CITS to explore youth development practices in their program.
This statewide advisory committee provides leadership and develops resources to further training, program development and research in the camping and outdoor education field. Adult volunteers, youth, and camp professionals from within and beyond the 4-H community are welcome to apply to become part of the committee.
The American Camp Association provides a variety of resources in support of camp programs.