MORGANTOWN — This week Monongalia County 4-H is hosting their largest camp, around 180 kids, from third through seventh grade. Adding in camp for older kids, which takes place later in the summer, and day campers that’s around 350 campers for the season said Becca Fint-Clark, WVU Extension Agent- 4-H Youth Development.
With 180 campers occupying the campground this week, she works really hard to remember each and everyone’s name, something she really prides herself in.
“I never want anyone to come and feel like they are just a camper, so I really work to learn all the campers’ names,” she said.
If you asked the happy campers strolling across the grounds of Camp Muffly what their favorite part of 4-H Camp is—you would probably get an abundance of answers.
Maybe for one its Council Circle, another might say “it’s a time where you can just be you” or another might tell you it’s a good time to get away your parents and be with friends.
Some might not be able to decide and just tell you they like “everything” about camp.
Though the kids aren’t allowed to have their phones at camp, no one seemed to miss them with an abundance of activities available throughout the day.
Annie, a 6th grader, recently dropped a sweet new rap called “Sunscreen” and performed it for other campers.
Its old school social media, face to face time with your favorite people. It’s like the good ol’ days when summers were carefree, school was out and there wasn’t a worry in the world. That’s what 4-H Camp is all about.
Matthew, 11, said his favorite part of camp is swimming, but Council Circle is up there too. He will soon be moving out of state but said hopefully he’ll be back to see his friends. He also landed a top bunk this year.
Last year, the County Commission opened another cabin at Camp Muffly. There was a huge wait list for 4-H camps, and in the last two years they’ve hosted larger camps then they ever did before.
“The great thing about 4-H camp is that we really stress the importance of being yourself. You can come here, you can belong. No matter your background, no matter what’s going on at home no matter where you’re from you can come and be a part of something, feel like you belong to something,” said Fint-Clark.
Becca said the camp pride themselves on their safe environment, with their caring, vetted volunteers. The counselors interview for positions and are selected. Jules Ogden, a teen counselor said she likes to meet new campers and to help them make friends. A camp attendee herself, she teaches drama class and how to make friendship bracelets.
“It’s just super positive and encouraging and I never feel like I have to be somebody I’m not or be cautious of being myself cause it’s just super easy to make friends in just a really relaxed and happy environment,” said Ogden.
Camp allows the kids to learn skills like independence and working together as a team. Kids write songs and put on skits at their campfire programs. The campers are broken up into Tribes, which they take a lot of pride in.
This year’s camp theme is “4-H the Beautiful”, which tips its hat to Patriotism. The camp invites guest speakers to talk about that specific subject matter like American history, diversity. The campers also learned how to fold an American flag correctly.
The kids are busy all the time, taking classes in the morning like crafts, tie dying, archery or air rifles. In the evening there sports and swimming, guest speakers, and the campfire program at night.
A day at camp would make anyone want to be a kid again. Back when your only worry was what your camp snack was going to be, said Fint-Clark.
She said she loves her time spent at camp, and the campers love it too. Some campers wait all year for the event. Some pack their bags early, and count down the days until they can reunited with other 4-H friends.
“It’s really sweet, I mean it makes you feel really glad about what you do. I’m really lucky to have the job that I have. I love it,” said Fint-Clark.
She said a great thing about 4-H Camp is seeing the kids reconnect with their friends, and make new friends too. 4-H holds a number of programs, and she hopes that all kids can have the opportunity to have a 4-H experience in their life. Day Camp runs from June 18-21st and their “older camp” for older kids will run from July 8-12.