Camp is more than a place; it’s a state of mind, and an experience that many youth look forward to all year. Despite a closed facility during the Covid-19 pandemic, 4-H Camp Shankitunk was ready willing and able to adapt this summer with an innovative Camp in the Box program and the help of several partner organizations.
More than 360 boxes were filled with camp programming, culture, positivity and mailed directly to youth. While more than 80% of boxes stayed local; youth in neighboring counties, states and some as far as Nebraska were able to participate in camp safely from their homes. Boxes were designed for a single youth to enjoy for 10+ hours in a variety of themes including classic, crafts, science/STEM, Nature, and Cloverbud (for ages 5-8). Each camp box contained a unique set of activities including but not limited to materials needed to carry out 5 hands on activities, reflection prompts, photography challenges, family fun ideas, camp store swag items, smores supplies, and a few surprises from camp staff! Boxes were offered at a reduced price and multiple scholarship opportunities were available. In addition to Camp in the Box, families could also tune in for free interactive Zoom game sessions.
The feedback we received from families and partners was overwhelmingly positive. They reported their youth having fun, being engaged, and generally enjoying something other than electronics at home. Highlights from the boxes included making a dreamcatcher, tie-dying a camp t-shirt, making friendship bracelets, exploring non-Newtonian fluids through oobleck, tying a no-sew fleece pillow, making slime, going on a micro hike, pressing flowers, clay art/drawing, learning origami, and much more!
A few local families were even surprised with a delivery parade from masked camp staff for an added smile. We are grateful that we were able to provide this programming opportunity for families and would like to thank our partners; without whom, none of this would have been possible! Thank You to the Community Foundation for South Central NY, Stewarts Shops and the Dake Family, a fund of the Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region. Delaware County Youth Bureau, Tractor Supply’s Paper Clover Campaign, and of course the Paycheck Protection Program which allowed us to bring on a skeleton crew this summer.