Cultivating Writing Skills at 4-H Day Camp

4-H Day Camp

July 17, 2013. This week I have been busing 14 kids 120 miles, over Sherman Pass which has an elevation of 5575, for four days to 4-H camp––every day. What was I thinking? Thank goodness I wasn’t alone. There was help. Good help. Thank you, Deb and Elaine for you amazing assistance. Still, it was hot and tiring, all but one day which just happened to be today. As the sun yawned and began to awake and peek over the mountains it blessed us with thunder and a torrential rain storm. Was it worth it? Absolutely. The camp kids are learning skills: theater, nutrition, germ and weed control and annihilation, bugs, trees and fossil identification, shooting sports, carpentry, new and fun games, song, art and Geo Caching.

Rain Rain Go Away! Because 4-H is here to stay!

There were about 105 elementary and middle school aged kids attending our county 4-H summer day camp.

Boy did I learn a thing or two.

1. It doesn’t matter what town boys live in…they all act the same. Burp.
2. Pack sunscreen, lots of it. And water.
3. For those unexpected raining days, like today, a rain coat and hot cocoa are handy.
4. Girls are still giggly and at the middle school age still a bit bashful.

Pellet gun shooting and safety.

I do think much more was learned, not only for the campers, but for the adults as well. Things like:

1. Patience: waiting for one’s turn in 80 plus degree weather can be brutal.
2. Respect for self, property and shooting sport weapons.
3. Listening to directions and safety instructions.
4. Communications skills in the form of manners, helping others, being silent at the appropriate
times, chants, songs and skits.
5. Participation that builds confidence and allows campers to experience new things.

But more importantly, as a writer and author, the question at hand it: Can Writers be cultivated out of 4-H Day Camp. I say––absolutely! Here is how:

1. Youth can journal about what they learn and how they feel about it. They can create memory books and add stickers and photos.
2. Discover how the new skills relate to real life and their futures.
3. Not only can they write about what they have learned, they can illustrate it too. Do I see a children’s picture book in the near future?
4. What can camp songs lead to but song writing and poetry?
5. With the theater training a bit of public speaking, or in our case singing, can be a bonus for the writer/speaker hopeful.

I believe all the above are precursors to blogging, journalism, or perhaps freelance writing of one’s choice. Today marks day two of three and the next two days are predicted to be scorchers. Friday has been dubbed “water day” and I’m certain the 90 degree temperature will invited cool droplets from a sprinkler or water balloon fight to refresh our crab-like skin.

4-H Summer Day Camp

I love this 4-H camp. Not only have I watched youth grow and blossom, but they have overcome fears. Deep fears. Most were the public speaking type in theater class. They will surely come away with skills to communicate, hopefully go on to college or some type of further education and learn discipline, the kind that allows a young man or woman to dream and then securely place an arrow on the bow string and let that dream fly. But who knows, perhaps that young camper will someday become a published author!

What has inspired you to fulfill your dreams?

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