Did you hear the squeals of joy when school let out?
Every child in the county was overjoyed that his or her summer vacation was beginning. If you missed it, it could have something to do with the deafening sigh of parents wondering how they would keep their children busy this summer and away from the video games and TV screens. Well, no worries mom, dad, and children of all ages, Robeson County 4-H is here for you.
Summer Fun is the title for a series of day and overnight camps, and leadership opportunities for youth put together by Robeson County 4-H. We work with youth between the ages of 5 and 18, and each week focus on a specific range of ages in that group. Each camp has a different cost based on the experience and includes everything from transportation to snacks, lunches, and supplies. There is no added cost on top of what we charge, so when you break it down, it really is a summertime deal.
One of our more popular weeks is our weeklong, overnight camping experience at Betsy-Jeff Penn 4-H Educational Center in Reidsville. This is an experience designed for youth ages 9 to 14, and it’s the experience of a lifetime. Youth have the opportunity to swim, horseback ride, rock wall climb, and enjoy many other activities.
Although the activities are fun and will keep them busy from sunup to sundown, the real experience goes much deeper. Youth make friends from all over the state and start learning to take care of themselves and others. They have to be responsible and learn to make their beds, clean up after themselves, bond with their cabinmates, and look out for each other. It is a time in their lives where they start to figure out who they are, what they like — and don’t like — and start to gain that independence that will let them become successful adults.
So, I hear you saying, how much fun is that? Six days and five nights creating memories your child will never forget. At the same time, I hear you wondering exactly how much does that cost. Well, thanks to our United Way funds, we are able to offer this adventure for $400.
Yes, that takes your breath away, but think for a second about what that includes — transportation; meals; lodging; a camp T-shirt; camp store money for the week; trained, qualified adults watching over your child and teaching them about environmental science, and much more. For most folks, this would cost $550.
Indian Education also offers a special deal for those who qualify to obtain this incredible experience for a mere $200. I realize this still seems like a lot, but let’s break it down. The average cost for a vacation for one person for just four days is around $600. That doesn’t include all the fun things the youth get to do or even someone else to watch over them. Also, how do you put a price tag on the experience of a lifetime?
To learn more about this experience or send a child to camp, please contact DeJarnette at 910-671-3276, or by email at Shea_Ann_DeJarnette@ncsu.edu, or visit robeson.ces.ncsu.edu/.
Shea Ann DeJarnette is the 4-H Youth Development Agent for North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center. She can be reached at Shea_Ann_DeJarnette@ncsu.edu.