TAYLOR COUNTY— With the end of a school year comes the start of summer camp season for the youth of the community. Unfortunately, COVID-19 is preventing traditional summer camps from taking place, but Taylor County 4-H is refusing to let the virus stop their summertime fun.
The organization has recently announced that registration is open for their first-ever virtual camp, Taylor County 4-H CampURL ( You are Linked), which will run from Sunday, June 21 to Thursday, June 25.
While campers are unable to gather at Camp Towels like in years past for a week of fun, Taylor County 4-H is committed to keeping the 4-H spirit alive by utilizing technology.
According to 4-H Program Assistant, Sheila Westfall, Taylor County 4-H CampURL will be offered using several methods in order to keep everyone involved safe and healthy.
“Safety is always our top priority and it simply is not safe to have over a hundred people gather for an in-person camp this summer,” she expressed. “However, the WVU Extension Service still has a responsibility to provide educational enrichment to the youth of West Virginia.”
She continued by saying,” To meet that goal, we in Taylor County, and in every county around the state, are conducting virtual camps.”
Several of the planned events and activities will be held online, but with the realization that not everyone has access to reliable internet, the camp will also have a mixture of activities that can be completed by the camper alone.
Live classes will be offered via the telecommunications application ZOOM at various times throughout the day for the duration of camp. Utilizing the ZOOM app, campers will be treated to group activities in the afternoons and evenings, with a live session featuring the West Virginia University Mountaineer, Colson Glover planned.
In an effort to continue offering camp activities for all to enjoy, the week of virtual camp will include Advanced Snacking, where participants will be joined via ZOOM by Nutrition Outreach Instructor, Jeanette Coole to learn some basic cooking tips, Archery, taught by a certified instructor who will be walking campers through the fundamentals of operating a bow, as well as STEM lessons, Folk Dancing, learning Air Riffle basics and learning to stitch with a Cross Stitch Name Tag activity.
Additionally, the camp will offer a more advanced cooking course, and a lesson on bug and insects.
While some of the courses being offered won’t require registration, others that campers may be interested in will, as Taylor County 4-H will be providing materials for those specific classes and will need campers to pre-register in order to collect the correct amount of materials needed for each participant.
“However, many classes either do not need materials to be completed, or they will utilize common items found around your house, and do not require registration,” shared Westfall. “We will also be providing a document with links to all of the ZOOM sessions and a list materials that you will need to provide on or before June 18.”
The drive through pickup of camp materials, which will take place on Sunday, June 21 from 3:00-5:00 p.m., will kick off Taylor County 4-H CampURL. Once everyone has received their materials and is ready to get started an initial ZOOM session will take place at 7:00 p.m. that Sunday evening.
“Our schedule throughout the week will be similar to in-person camp,” explained Westfall. “In the morning, campers will have the opportunity to participate in classes or work on some of the ‘On-Your-Own-Activities’. Then in the afternoon, the camp will offer STEM based activities.”
Camp will close out each day with an additional group activity followed by a reflection of that activity, with the exception of Thursday, June 25, when the campers and camp leaders will wrap up camp with a final assembly and council circle.
The state 4-H program is offering a commemorative headband as an incentive to participants who complete a minimum of six lessons as part of Taylor County 4-H CampURL.
“I realize that there will be many questions, but to be honest, as we work through this process we are will finalizing a number of components and may not have all the answers at this time,” voiced Westfall. “The development of this 4-H Camp alternative has been a major undertaking statewide, and not everything is complete, but we do have to move forward with registration to maintain our previous schedule.”
For those who are interested, there is no cost to participate, and registration is open online now through Sunday, June 14.
To register your 4-Her today, please visit the program’s new enrollment website, 4H.zsuite.org.
For additional information about the camp, the registration process or for any other questions, contact the Taylor County WVU Extension Office by calling 304-265-3303, or emails can be sent to [email protected].