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Tuesday, June 12th, 2018

4-H Camp offers new experiences for youth

By Tom Stankard

Amber Timmerman makes a lanyard out of string and pompoms during 4-H camp on Mon. . .

CELINA - More than 100 kids left their electronic devices behind on Monday to experience the great outdoors, make new friends and try new things at 4-H Camp at Harbor Point.
During the four day-overnight camp that has been offered for more than 50 years, children ages 9-14 sleep in cabins, learn about nature, play sports, do arts and crafts and much more, director Beth Guggenbiller said.
Camp this year is run by 25 high school counselors who began training and preparing this past winter, Guggenbiller noted.
After breakfast, kids participate in two morning activities, including shooting a bow and arrow; learning how to cook, start a fire and fish; complete science experiments; and create arts and crafts.
In the afternoon, the campers rotate between nature, water and crafts activities.
As part of the nature activity on Monday, Mercer County District Library Assistant Librarian Anthony Rotondo taught campers how to start a fire and other important skills needed to survive in the wild.
"They would never learn these skills otherwise at this age," he told the newspaper. "They experienced these things hands-on. They wanted to learn more after it was over."
Later this week, kids will go on a hike, build a fire and navigate through an obstacle course, volunteer Laura Walker said.
Nearby, kids tested how low they could go in a game of limbo while camp counselors holding the rope sprayed water on them.
In the craft room, Libby Gilmore, 12, and her friend, Emily Brunswick, 12, both of Coldwater, joined others in making a keychain out of string and pompoms and rubber-band bracelets.
Gilmore and Brunswick have been going to camp since they were 9 years old. They said their favorite part is being gathered around the campfire, where counselors perform skits.
After the fire is out, counselors read the campers a story or tell them an inspirational message before they go to bed, counselor Ashley Post said.
Like Gilmore and Brunswick, Post has enjoyed going to camp at Harbor Point since she was 9 years old. During that time, she has made many camp friends.
"Some of those friends I'm still friends with now," she said. "So, the connections you make are nice."
When she got too old to attend as a camper, Post said she wanted to become a counselor. In this role, she has acquired leadership skills and plans to use them later on in life as a high school math teacher.
Post said she hopes "kids break out of their shell," while at camp, like she did. Rotondo agreed, adding, he thinks camp puts "kids more in touch with the real world."
"It's important to use technology, but there's a real world out there," he said.
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