Gardening with the Masters: Cherokee County 4-H’ers experience camp
by Ashley Witcher
August 22, 2014 04:00 AM | 3039 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ashley Witcher
Ashley Witcher

Georgia 4-H summer camp provides a fun filled outdoor summer program for students ages 9 to 19. This summer camp, administered through the county offices of UGA Extension, allows 4-H’ers to experience a summer camp program unparalleled in the nation.

Each summer, more than 8,000 children and 1,000 adults and teen leaders attend summer camp at different 4-H centers throughout the state. Georgia 4-H centers include: Burton 4-H Center at Tybee Island, Fortson 4-H Center in Hampton, Rock Eagle 4-H Center in Eatonton and Wahsega 4-H Center in Dahlonega.

This year, 102 students in fourth through sixth grades, seven adult volunteers and seven teen leaders attended Cloverleaf Camp at Rock Eagle 4-H Center.

Rock Eagle is the largest 4-H center in the world and is named for a large white, quartz rock eagle effigy mound that is more than 2,000 years old. The Rock Eagle Mound was built by Native Americans, and campers got to learn all about it as they became members of a Rock Eagle Indian tribe.

Campers are divided into three tribes: Cherokee, Shawnee and Muskogee.

Cherokee County campers joined the Cherokee tribe for the week. Tribes have a friendly competition throughout the week to win the sacred tribal shield, which is awarded on Friday morning before leaving camp. Campers work together, play together, cheer, yell and sing together to show that their tribe is worthy of winning the tribal shield.

Throughout the week campers participated in a variety of activities including: swimming, putt-putt golf, nature hikes, canoeing and archery. Secondyear campers are also able to participate in sailing and the high ropes course, which included zip line, climbing wall and swing shot.

4-H’ers attended a three-class rotation schedule during the week of camp. During these rotations 4-H’ers selected different classes and workshops that interested them most including: herpetology, water conservation, lake ecology, entomology, wildlife and forestry.

These classes and workshops allowed students to experience hands-on learning in a fun setting. 4-H’ers also experienced a variety of nightly activities including a night hike. On Wednesday night, counselors were the starts of the popular variety show and on Thursday, campers enjoyed the Rock Eagle pageant where counselors presented the legend of the Rock Eagle mound and how it came to be.

Cherokee County 4-H’ers participated in other 4-H camps this summer as well. Eighteen 4-H’ers and one adult volunteer attended junior camp at Burton 4-H Center on Tybee Island the week of June 23 to 27. Seventhand eighth-grade students enjoyed a week of fun-filled activities.

A few highlights from the week included: a marsh trawl, Savannah River dinner cruise and ghost tour and a trip to the Tybee Island lighthouse and marine science center.

Wilderness challenge camp at Wahsega 4-H Center in Dahlonega is another camping opportunity for 7th and 8th grade 4-H’ers. 4-H’ers, get to participate in a wide variety of outdoor activities during the week. The highlights of the week include cave crawling and spending the night in a cave at Raccoon Mountain and whitewater rafting down the Ocoee River. This year, two 4-H’ers experienced Wilderness Challenge camp the week of July 14 to 18.

Senior 4-H’ers (ninth-12thgraders) also has two options for a wonderful summer camp experience. Senior extreme camp is chance for 4-H’ers to experience a week in the great outdoors. 4-H’ers spend the night in open air huts and tents each night at pioneer camp at Rock Eagle 4-H Center. Some exciting activities include: canoeing and fishing on the Ocmulgee River, archery at Charlie Elliot Outdoor Center, cooking meals on an open fire and conquering the ropes course. The other option for high school 4-H’ers is senior camp. This year senior camp was held at Wahsega 4-H Center in Dahlonega. Campers enjoyed the following classes and workshops: white water rafting, leadership skills, robotics, a trip to North Georgia College and State University, dinner at Medieval Times show and tournament, the ropes courses, fishing, panning for gold and tubing down the river.

Five Cherokee County 4-H’ers attended senior camp from June 29 to July 3.

Information about Extension Solutions for Homes and Gardens can be found on the UGA extension website,; or contact the Cherokee County Extension Office, 1130 Bluffs Parkway, Suite G49, Canton, GA, 30114, 770-721-7803. The Georgia Master Gardener Extension Volunteer Program is a volunteer training program offered through county offices of the UGA extension. Follow Cherokee County Master Gardeners on facebook at for gardening tips as well as upcoming seminars.

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