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W.E. Skelton 4-H Educational Center
At 4-H Camp, campers learned about outdoor cooking through hands-on demonstrations
W.E. Skelton Educational Conference Center
Young golfers on the tee at the new Patsy “P.T.” Smith Golf Complex at the W. E. Skelton 4-H Educational Conference Center in Wirtz.
Friday, September 6, 2013
If you’re wondering what’s been happening at the W.E. Skelton 4-H Educational Center this summer, and what’s coming up this fall, the answer can be summed up in two short words: a lot.
“We had an excellent summer,” said Jessie Tyson, the center’s program director. “Our numbers were up, and we had a great time.”
For the first time , the center hosted a weeklong District Camp with campers from its entire 19-county, two-city service area. Tyson estimated there were about 100 participants.
“It was a unique week of programming, because we got to do things that we couldn’t necessarily do during other weeks of camp,” said Tyson. “We played games, tie-dyed and planned a camp-wide campout that ended up getting rained out. However, a good time was had by all, and we hope to grow that over the next few years.”
Even though adolescent campers have headed back to school, there still are many programs happening on the weekends in the coming months, including a variety of specialty camps, which are short, and overnight camps that focus on a theme and are targeted to specific age groups.
Scheduled for Sept. 14 - 15, Sci-Fi camp is an overnight camp for science and science fiction fans ages 9-13. The camp brochure promises that “Sci-Fi Camp participants will experience a weekend of science, exciting experiments, wacky science challenges, crazy foods, and fun science fiction experiences!”
In addition to Sci-Fi Camp, the center is hosting a Cloverbud Camp for kids 5-8 and a camp for teens in November. Cloverbud Camp is designed to introduce younger kids to 4-H using fun themes. The next one, said Tyson, has a “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” theme.
“We will be learning all about different transportation methods and have a few extra special guests,” she said.
Teen camps, according to the 4-H Center’s website, www.skelton4hcenter.org, “are uniquely themed weekend camps open ONLY to teenagers (and adult volunteers). Featuring programs, challenges and activities that are ONLY offered at this camp, they are the perfect opportunity for teens to get away and have a great weekend.”
Several new activities that are designed to introduce families to 4-H and promote learning also are being offered this year. One of them was last week’s Families Exploring the Outdoors Day, sponsored in conjunction with Franklin County Parks and Recreation. The daylong event included a variety of outdoor activities, including a cookout and pool party followed by the 4-H Center’s “Movies @ The Amp,” which showed the movie “Epic.”
The other new activity, Homeschool Day, will be held on Sept. 25. Homeschooled students ages 5-18 will have a chance to participate in outdoor activities, including canoeing, archery and wildlife ecology.
Adults, too, can participate in programs at the 4-H Center. From pistol shooting to flower arranging, there are day-long and multi-day seminars available. The Road Scholar program (once known as Elderhostel) has been offered at the 4-H Center since 1989 .
The Road Scholar program combines classroom lectures with field trips to various historical sites throughout the area. According to the website’s calendar, the next program, scheduled for Sept. 16-19, is “Antiquing in the Blue Ridge,” which is designed to teach participants about how to identify and shop for antiques, as well as tips on how to restore and preserve them.
In addition to all the amenities available, Tyson said that the opening of the new Patsy “P.T.” Smith Golf Complex will allow the center to offer golf coaching sessions to children.
“It was a generous gift that is being put to use by our 4-H campers and some of our outdoor-education groups,” said Tyson.
To learn more about the programs and camps offered at the W.E. Skelton 4-H Educational Center, visit www.skelton4hcenter.org or call 721-2759.
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