University of Nevada Cooperative Extension holds inaugural youth summer day camp

The Cooperative Extension and 4-H Office held its first ever Youth Summer Day Camp.

“We have actively been working on creating awareness about 4-H and Extension, and what we can provide to both youth and adults in our community,” said Lindsay Chichester, Extension Educator. “While this will take time, I am excited about how our camp went over. We are exploring the idea of hosting two to three of these annually.”

The goals of the camp were that it had to be educational and it had to be fun. Judging by the youth evaluations, smiles, and laughs Cooperative Extension achieved their goals.

“By introducing youth to a variety of activities and experiences, we are hoping to engage youth in the joy of lifelong learning,” says Sandy Wallin, 4-H and Community Based Instructor.

The week went as follows: Day 1 included a hike around Spooner Lake, where youth learned from Ed Smith, UNCE Natural Resources Specialist, the differences between trees, shrubs, and forbs, as well as how to identify several species within each of those major groups. Embracing the outdoor theme, grilled hotdogs were on the lunch menu. Ann Bollinger, with Carson City Open Spaces, rounded out the day talking about our forests and waterways.

Day 2 was hosted by the Carson City Library and its great staff. Youth learned how to code and program on computers, which resulted in the youth creating a maze, in which other youth had to tap into the skills they learned to write code which solved the maze. Additionally, the youth had circuit challenges, create designs, and everyone had something printed by the 3D printer.

Day 3 was photography day with Larry Burton, Outdoor and Wildlife Photographer. Youth learned the elements of taking a good photo, how to work their cameras, and how to change the settings depending on what they were trying to photograph. To put these practices into place, Silver Saddle Ranch and the Carson River seemed like a natural fit. At the end of the day Larry gave them tips on the photos they took and encouraged them to look for youth photography exhibits.

Day 4 was STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Day with Jim Barcellos, Youth STEM and Community Based Instructor. The youth built small robots which had to clean up an “oil spill” (aka rice). Youth also learned about polymers and their ability to absorbs and hold water in things like diapers or soil. The big hit of the day was learning about CO2 and dry ice, which provided endless fun.

Rounding out Day 5 was entomology, or the study of insects with Lyon County Extension Educator, Joy Newton. The group visited the Bug and Butterfly House near Reno where they learned about various insects, were able to touch or hold them, and catch insects. The youth then learned how to identify what they caught based on wings, legs, and other distinguishable body characteristics. Finally, youth learned how to euthanize an insect and how to pin it. They were able to start their own collections.

The first summer day camp was a huge hit. The Cooperative Extension and 4-H Office is looking forward to future camps which encourage youth to become lifelong learners, ask questions, and have fun!


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment