All About 4-H Camps
California 4-H research shows that camps promote positive youth development. California 4-H camps foster exceptionally strong relationships for both campers and staff. Teens in our camp programs report significantly higher leadership and decision-making opportunities compared to camps in a national American Camp Association study.
While camp styles vary from county to county, they all provide unique opportunities for participants. Camp 4-H style helps young people to reach their full potential as competent, confident, leaders of character who contribute and are connected to their communities.
Contact your county office to learn about the camp programs offered in your area.
4-H camps differ in each county depending upon location and available resources. Each facility that is used will have its own unique amenities, such as swimming pools, fishing ponds, water fronts, recreational activities, campfire amphitheater, and more. The experience of attending and participating in a camping program can help youth build self confidence, meet new people and provide a safe opportunity to experience new opportunities.
What kind of camp programs can I expect at a 4-H camp?
4-H camps generally focus on a program theme for the camp session. In addition, a positive small group environment is created by combining youth of similar ages in cabins or tents with youth counselors and adult volunteers. Campers learn to make decisions, share responsibilities, solve problems, and organize housekeeping tasks and their daily schedule. Youth are also offered a wide variety of activities depending on the camp facility. These could include hiking, swimming, fishing, archery, shooting sports, climbing wall, arts and crafts, nature, astronomy, etc. Campers also work on creating original skits and musical programs for their campfires.
Why should parents consider 4-H camp?
Camps sponsored by 4-H have been developed based on knowledge gained through decades of youth development experience. Local camps are affiliated with and follow guidelines developed by the University of California. There is a statewide camping committee which was organized to evaluate the California 4-H camping experience and to then develop best practices for interesting and safe camp programs.
Where are 4-H camps located?
There are numerous camp sites throughout California that reflect the interests and resources of the county sponsoring the program. Camps vary in size and accommodations. Most 4-H camps are not owned by the county 4-H program, but are instead leased from other public or private organizations. To view the camps in your locale, select the link “4-H Camps in California” and click on your county.
Is transportation provided to 4-H camp?
When do 4-H camps offer their camp sessions?
4-H camps throughout California generally have camp sessions during the summer months from June through August. Some counties offer only one session while others offer additional sessions. The length of the camp session also varies from weekend adventures to three-week programs.
Who is responsible for the safety of my child at 4-H camp?
Trained counselors and adult staff have each child’s safety as their primary concern. Safety precautions are adhered to in food preparation, water safety, shooting sports, hiking, and climbing walls. Camps have a system for monitoring medications and the health of the campers. In larger camps, there is generally an on-site nurse. Emergency and disaster procedures are the responsibility of the camp management and the county 4-H program.
Do the counselors and adult leaders receive training?
Every county 4-H program that offers a resident summer camp takes responsibility for training their youth and adult staff. Leadership is identified for various camp functions and training generally consists of 7-8 months of preparation. Camp staff members meet on a regular basis to learn their responsibilities.
What will the youth/adult ratio be?
The California 4-H YDP requires 1 adult chaperone for every 8 youth. All adult chaperones receive 4-H orientation training and must clear a background check prior to attending camp.
What should my child bring to 4-H camp?
California 4-H camps vary in their geographical location and this influences their climates and temperature ranges. Generally, items appropriate for camp include a sleeping bag, flashlight, warm jacket, toilet articles, and several changes of clothing. Please note that 4-H camps may also identify exclusionary items your child can not bring to camp in order to enrich the camp experience. These items may include computers, PDAs, money, and cell phones.
It is the policy of the University of California that all 4-H programs require camp participants sign a Code of Conduct prior to attending camp. This document outlines all the rules for the delegates.
My child is not a member of 4-H; may he/she still attend a 4-H camp?
All children who meet the age criteria for 4H camp are welcome to register for a camp in their locale. Frequently, 4-H members will invite their friends to accompany them to camp. The policy of the University of California is to enroll all camp participants in 4-H for the purpose of medical and accident insurance coverage. We hope that the experience is meaningful to the non-4-H participant and they will consider joining a 4-H club after attending camp.
How much does 4H camp cost?
The fees for 4-H camps in California vary because the cost of leasing camp property depends on ownership, transportation costs, and availability. The camps can cost as little as $75 per week or as much as $300. In either case, 4-H camps are among the most reasonably priced programs you will find offering quality youth oriented programming. An additional bonus of camp registration is membership in 4-H, which covers the health and accident insurance for the camper.
How do we register for 4-H camp?
Each camp will have a registration packet including general information about the camper, emergency contacts, a medical treatment form, and a code of conduct. Your county may require additional information. Every county has a registration process with deadlines for submission of paperwork and payment of camp fees. Some counties handle camp registration electronically, and others require that the forms be mailed.
How do I contact my child?
Each county will provide different opportunities for the campers and parents to stay in contact. Some may offer a parent night, phone call time, mail, email, or packages. Check out these opportunities before sending your child to camp so they know how and when they can communicate with you.
What if my child becomes homesick?
Homesickness is most common in first time campers, but it can happen to anyone. Sometimes the fear of becoming homesick happens before arriving at camp or on the trip to camp. It is important to keep a positive attitude while talking to your camper; focus on wonderful opportunities like new friends and new experiences. Be sure to listen to your child and reassure them. Tell them how proud you are of them for going to camp, and give them ideas to make the camping trip a positive experience. You know your child best and are aware of their fears and abilities. Most camps have a camp nurse; it is important to share these concerns with him/her or write about it on the medical treatment form that the nurse will be reviewing before camp starts.