This weekend we will head to Rock Springs 4-H Center for our annual Sunny Hills camp. Sunny Hills is full of fun and excitement for campers, from horseback riding to learning to shoot a bow and arrow. The new and engaging activities are endless. That is the traditional camp experience, but it is so much more — developing children who are better equipped to lead in the 21st century with skills such as independence, empathy, the ability to work as part of a team, and a broader world view.
An essential component of 21st century youth development is offering young people experiences where they have the freedom to learn by doing, grow from failure, express their ideas and use their influence to drive positive outcomes.
The organized camp experience during Sunny Hills allows those opportunities. Our camp provides campers with the opportunity to connect with nature, to participate in human-powered activities, and to benefit from personal and primary relationships. While Sunny Hills camp teaches youth many new skills with new activities each year, one thing we continue to do the “old school” way are camp meals.
At Sunny Hills, our campers eat “family style”. Campers take turns setting the table during KP (kitchen patrol). They learn how to correctly set a table for every meal, carefully putting down a place setting for each person. Food items are passed around the table so that everyone can get a helping. Eating family style might be slower than sending everyone through a buffet style line, but we know that the skills learned are worth the extra time. After each meal, camp groups are assigned to help with KP clean up, where they follow specific instructions on how to clean up and wash each table.
Campers always return home excited to tell parents of the friends they have made and exciting adventures they have experienced. While campers might not speak about the many life lessons they have learned at Sunny Hills, we know that they will realized those many years down the road when they reminisce on their time at Rock Springs 4-H Center.