PLEASANT HILL — With school adjourned for summer, area camp programs are in full swing. While many focus exclusively on outdoor activities like swimming or canoeing, the Miami County 4-H camp program is taking its itinerary one step further by teaching kids to think critically in team settings.
Indian Hills 4-H Camp, nestled in the woods just west of Pleasant Hill, is home to this program, running June 11-15 with 70 campers, ages 9-13, currently enrolled.
38 counselors, ages 13-18, are also enrolled, with 6-8 adults overseeing daily activities.
“Our theme this year is ‘Don’t Run Out of STEAM’,” said Miami County extension 4-H educator Demetria Woods. “The ‘STEAM’ stands for ‘science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics’. They try to shape the various workshops and crafts around STEAM activities.”
Camper activities have included crystal-making with borax and pipe cleaners, marble roller coaster construction, and making ice cream with the use of liquid nitrogen.
“We come up with different things every year, but the elements that make up ‘STEAM’ are the areas that 4-H across the nation is focusing on,” Woods said. “We’re trying to get more and more young people involved in careers related to those areas.”
Dr. Robert Horton, Ohio State University professor and Ohio 4-H youth development specialist, was on site this week to assist campers in the various challenges.
“I think it’s fun to be able to introduce a concept to kids that they haven’t really thought much about, like objects in motion and how objects are accelerating,” Horton said. “We give them the tools in which to control those forces, and they do it collaboratively, which is something they’ll have to do in real life. It rewards me when they’re able to set out on that trail, confront the problem, and find some meaningful solutions.”
Indian Hills 4-H Camp has now been in operation for 56 seasons. The 55-and-a-half acre camp can accommodate up to 200 people, and according to camp manager Ann Snider, hosts “1700 to 2100 kids per summer.”
“This camp does a lot ot team-building activities, and a lot of friendships are built,” Snider said. “On the last day, you’ll see a lot of tears. Sometimes, this is the only time they get to see these people. The respect and learning how to work as a team that kids learn out here is always the biggest thing to me.”
For more information, visit www.indianhills4hcamp.org.