As the summer winds away, the staff of the Rockdale County 4-H Program spends their time updating materials to prepare for the upcoming school year. In addition to those tasks, they normally offer a ton of Cloverleaf summer classes, from Babysitting 101 to Finger Weaving to Acting. These classes are held during the day for two to three hours at a time. This year, however, there has been a shift in the needs of Rockdale's families. Many families no longer have a parent or extended family member who is available to transport youth to and from a class that goes on in the middle of the day. Today, with many people's financial uncertainty, everyone who can work does. To address this change in need, a 4-H day camp was offered at the Cooperative Extension Office located on Parker Road.
The Rockdale County 4-H Program hosted its first Clover College Day Camp this month from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday through Friday, June 8 through June 12. Clover College was designed for students between the ages of 9 and 12. The camp consisted of daily field trips including the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola, Zoo Atlanta, CNN Center, Centennial Olympic Park, Dr. Martin Luther King Center and Fernbank Museum of Natural History with an IMAX movie experience. At $100 for the week and including a daily sack lunch, the field trips definitely give campers the bang for every buck spent. However, 4-H would never offer a week-long experience without education. As a part of the University of Georgia, 4-H's mission is to help young people in gaining knowledge and acquiring skills that will assist them in developing into positive and self-directed contributors to their communities.
To meet our mission, the youth swam two days of the week, played history games, gained some basic plant knowledge while making plant people, made "dump cake" or cobbler in a Dutch oven and participated in daily nutrition activities during which they were taught how to make simple, yet healthy, snacks that could be prepared at home for a minimal cost. In addition, 4-H'ers took classes in geology, entomology, acting, fruits and vegetables, money emotions, making money, duck tape art, being wilderness worthy, and map and compass.
What made our camp unique was that all but one of the classes at Clover College was planned and taught by other 4-H youth who are, at present, working on projects for Project Achievement. Project Achievement is a middle and high school year's worth of topic learning, doing and sharing by our 4-H'ers. The 4-H'ers who taught classes are acquiring know how through research and then sharing that knowledge with younger 4-H'ers. This not only makes Clover College a fun learning experience for younger 4-H'ers, but also serves as a catalyst for older 4-H'ers to learn more about their project areas while thinking up innovative, engaging and effective ways to share what they have learned.
Clover College was a big hit this summer and we are very excited about offering it next summer. So, be on the look out for the Second Rockdale 4-H Clover College Day Camp when you are planning your son or daughter's summer activities next year-- you never know what they may learn in just one week. For more information about the Rockdale County 4-H Program, please contact the Rockdale County 4-H Office at 770-278-7373 or you may stop by for a visit with us at 1400 Parker Road, Lobby A in Conyers.
Shivone Wilson is the Rockdale County 4- H Agent.