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Keeping camp alive

Innovation, technology make 4-H 'virtual camp' a memorable experience.

Aug. 28, 2020

girl at table doing craft

Gracie, 9, of Chariton County, glues together a leaf and flower press.

A combination of camp-in-a-kit and virtual experiences gave children throughout the state of Missouri a platform to continue learning, socializing and experiencing the traditions of in-person camping from afar.

While virtual experiences at a computer screen might sound like the opposite of camp, 4-H’ers were able to enjoy many of the same activities, though in different formats. “Options included everything from STEM projects and crafts to virtual campfires, with something for everyone, with or without devices,” said Laura Browning, assistant extension professor, University of Missouri Extension 4-H Center for Youth Development.

Campers chose from a list of activities, and they documented their participation with photos and videos. A campfire via Zoom was held on Fridays. Families with limited internet access were given flash drives containing videos, camp songs and other educational content.

Like most of the world, the Missouri 4-H community hopes that things will be back to normal —or something close to it — in 2021.

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