Ridley 4-H Camp comes to Chickasaw State Park

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Chester County 4-H members enjoyed the 4-H Camp Traveling Roadshow at Chickasaw State Park June 29.

Part of the excitement of being a young 4-H member is the opportunity to attend 4-H camp during the summer. Chester County 4-H members have attended 4-H camp at the Ridley 4-H Center in Columbia since 2010. Prior to that, they camped at the Milan 4-H Center which holds a lot of fond memories for 4-H alumni in Chester County. Last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all 4-H camps in Tennessee were canceled. At the beginning of 2021, the decision was made once again to cancel the traditional week-long camps due to the ongoing pandemic. However, 4-H specialists, agents, and camp staff across the state knew we wanted to provide some type of camping alternative for our 4-H members.
After a lot of planning and preparing, the 4-H Camp Traveling Roadshow program was launched. Each 4-H center across the state was tasked with bringing 4-H camp to the counties in the form of one-day events planned by camp staff and 4-H agents in each county. The Ridley 4-H Center, managed by Mrs. Terri Quillen worked with 4-H agents in Chester County to plan a great day camp at Chickasaw State Park.
On June 29, twenty-five 4-H members from Chester County attended the day camp. They had a great time participating in the activities that the Ridley staff brought and enjoyed the bliss that comes from being a kid and playing outside during the summer. Activities included inflatable archery and axe throwing, gaga ball, crafts, tie-dying, corn hole, and 9-square-in-the-air. Educational activities included driving remote control cars through an obstacle course while campers wore goggles that simulate “drunk vision.” The activity included instruction and discussion about the importance of making healthy choices. One of the favorite activities of the day was the educational wildlife presentation made by Ridley’s own Brian Stewart also known affectionately as the “Crazy Critter Guy” or “CCG.” Brian showed off several of his “wild friends,” including a legless lizard, a snake, a tarantula and a variety of insects. He explained how these animals live and how they support the environment around us. Campers got to test their courage and hold some of the critters throughout the program.
The day concluded with information about how students can be involved in 4-H and how they can attend traditional 4-H camp next year. We would like to say a special thank you to Terri, Brian, and all of the Ridley 4-H camp staff who made the Traveling Road Show a great experience for our 4-H members. We would also like to thank Chickasaw State Park for hosting our day camp at the beautiful Sagamore Lodge and to Sweetly Ever After for providing us with a delicious lunch including their great cupcakes! Thank you to our volunteers who helped make the day a success: Mr. James Faulkner, Hannah Stoneman, Paige Lofton, Emily Weekley and Karlie Heinsohn. Lastly, thank you to all of the parents and campers for participating in a fun-filled 4-H day. We look forward to seeing all of our 4-H members as we begin 4-H club meetings and programs at Chester County Middle School, Chester County Junior High and Chester County High School this fall!
If you are interested in being part of the 4-H staff team in Chester County, we are happy to announce that UT Extension—Chester County is hiring a full-time 4-H agent this year. You can see our hiring ad in this issue or find it online at http://hr.tennessee.edu/jobs/. You can also call our office at 989-2103 for more information.