Nearly 75 Wisconsin youth from military families met at Upham Woods Outdoor Learning Center in Wisconsin Dells last week (Thursday, Aug. 10-Sunday, Aug. 13) to learn communication skills, develop a support network and experience STEM in an environmental education setting.
“At 4-H Military Kids camp, these young people have the opportunity to spend valuable time with other youth from military families who share similar experiences,” says Sue Curtis, Wisconsin 4-H Military Kids liaison. “They develop friendships that last after camp ends.”
Youth from military families can experience emotional challenges when their parents are away during a tour of service, as well as when they return. Families can be separated for more than a year at a time. Their parents miss many important events — concerts, sporting events, honor banquets, club meetings, prom, and even graduation. When mom or dad returns, it can be difficult for families to communicate.
The theme for this year’s Wisconsin 4-H Military Kids Camp was Super Summer STEM Spectacular. Drawing from 4-H and Upham Woods curricula, campers learned about insects, programmed robots and purified water, along with traditional camp favorites like swimming, archery and crafts.
Since 2007, the Wisconsin 4-H Military Kids Program has provided educational opportunities for military families. Summer camp is the largest 4-H Military Kids program, with approximately 75 youth attending each year. Donations from 4-H clubs, community organizations and businesses make it possible to offer this four-day experience for $20. This year, Wisconsin 27 4-H community clubs raised nearly $3,500 to support the program.