4-H Camp counselors impact youth in positive ways


POLO – Twenty local teens will soon be serving as 4-H Camp Counselors for over 100 youth for the 2022 4-H Day Camp in Polo. 

While camp is an amazing way to teach younger youth to make good decisions, learn to be independent, make life-long friendships, and gain new skills, the experience for camp counselors is just as impactful, if not more. Stepping in as a parent and taking on the responsibility for someone else’s child is a powerful experience for our teen counselors who have been participating in mandatory trainings since February. 

4-H Day Camp is set for June 14, 15, and 16 at Rock River Christian Camp, Polo. Youth may choose to participate in all three days of camp or attend the dates that work best in their schedule. 4-H Camp is open to all boys and girls, ages 8-14 by June 14. 4-H membership is not required; however, all participants will be expected to comply with the same high behavior standards expected of 4-Hers. Youth need to be interested and excited to have a day of outdoor fun, away from television and technology.

The cost each day is $70. All camp fees must be paid in full by May 27. Download a camper application online or register online at: https://extension.illinois.edu/bdo/northern-illinois-4-h-camp. You may also call an office near you: Jo Daviess County at 815-858-2273; Ogle County Extension at 815-732-2191; or Whiteside Counties at 815-632-3611.

Because many of our camp counselors have been campers themselves, they understand the impact they can leave on a camper, for life. These teens also gain an appreciation for volunteerism and devote over 200 hours of their time to train, plan, and participate in the counselor experience. 

“It made me realize that my actions can impact numerous people even in the smallest ways,” Collin Conderman, a counselor alumnus, said about his past counselor experiences. “It showed me how 4-H brings people together to learn by doing.”

The opportunity to also build life skills like employability, responsibility, character, caring, and respect are also take-a-ways for these teenage counselors.

“Our camp counselors are very dedicated and committed individuals, that are big believers in that 4-H camp experience for youth,” said Johnna Jennings, University of Illinois Extension 4-H & Youth Development Unit Educator. “They know the joys of 4-H camp and realize that many campers are looking forward to that one week this summer. The counselors work hard to make sure the youth are safe, healthy, and having a good time.  These teen counselors are not getting paid to serve in this role, but instead, they are volunteering their time and talent to be trained to be the best possible counselors.  What the teens do get in exchange for their time is the development of tremendous leadership skills, the ability to work well with others, enhanced communication skills, and the admiration from our 4-H campers and camp staff for a job well done. We are thrilled to have so many wonderful teen counselors on our team for this year's 4-H camp.”

A study conducted by the 4-H Camp staff with counselors and counselor alumni indicated that the top five skills counselors develop as a result of their training and on-the-job experiences are:  5) to work with others as a team; 4) to act as leaders by setting an example; 3) how to make real, life-long friends; 2) the importance of being prepared, and 1) to be responsible for the care of children.

The 2022 4-H Camp Counselor Team is ready for a fun-filled camp! Counselors include Armando Batista (Pecatonica), Carson Conderman (Byron), Grace Costello (Stillman Valley), Allison Duggan (Thomson), Paige Dykstra (Fulton), Katie Eggemeyer (Morrison), Jenna Haas (Stockton), Carissa Hinderman (Warren), Quinn James (Morrison), Ashton Miller (Galena), Lucas Odle (Paw Paw),  Maggie Penate (Sycamore), Gracie Prose (Oregon), Sarah and Ellie Rothermel (Durand), Campbell Russo (Rockford), Dawson Stache (Rock City), Logan Tessendorf (Freeport),  Haley Thies (Baileyville), and Hannah Zinke (Morrison).

 

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