youth canoeing on the Wisconsin River

For decades, parents have trusted 4-H camps to help young people build resilience by engaging in positive risks. If we want our children to be able to bounce back from adversity, stress, challenges and failures, teaching them resilience is key. Having experiences outside their comfort zones, like camp, helps young people become more independent and better able to plan and reach their long-term goals. At 4-H camp, children learn critical life skills and independence.

Safety is our first concern. 4-H camps are carefully reviewed to ensure they meet program guidelines. We perform background checks on youth and adults who work as counselors and train them to manage any needs that a young person might have. Camp experiences are available for young people with an array of physical and developmental needs. It is important to share any information that is needed to help your child when you register them for the camp experience.

Clubs and groups offer camps throughout the state including the Upham Woods Outdoor Learning Center which is a model residential outdoor learning center, managed by the University of Wisconsin – Madison Division of Extension. The center rests on 318 total acres of forested land on the Wisconsin River, including a 210-acre island called “Blackhawk Island.”

Youth at camp in the woods working with a camp councilor

Whether through summer camp, winter camp, day programs, virtual camps or other programs, 4-H camps promote Youth Development principles:

  • Competence in lifetime skills
  • Confidence in self and others
  • Connection with nature, 4-H leaders, and fellow 4-H members
  • Caring for the environment, themselves, their peers and leaders
  • Character for today’s experiences and tomorrow’s challenges

Train to Be a Camp Counselor

Camp Counselors have a special role at camp. They are trusted guides, supports, and leaders who help to make sure campers have a safe, welcoming, and meaningful experience. Go through one or more of seven modules designed to help prepare youth leaders to become skilled, knowledgeable Camp Counselors.

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