Britches & Boots 4-H Horse Club members enjoy summer camp

Published 10:05 am Saturday, August 4, 2018

by Abby Boyce, Blair Wright, Maura Britt

Each year, the extension office sends summer camp information packets to all its year-round members who are 14 and older to encourage them to apply as CITs (counselors in training) or counselors for the Southampton County/IOW Junior 4-H camp. Junior members are also sent information about signing up to participate in camp. Again this year, from June 24 to June 29, the Britches & Boots 4-H Horse Club had members participate in the camp experience and take memories that will last a lifetime home with them.

Abby Boyce, Britches & Boots 4-H Horse Club vice-president, applied as a camp counselor this year after attending camp last year as a CIT. She attended many hours of training as a camp counselor.

“At the trainings we went over how to get along with children and bond with them,” Boyce said. “We learned how to talk to campers and ways to interact with each one. I assisted staff members in teaching classes at camp. I helped with the Fun with Foods and Swimming classes. In Fun with Foods, we made easy snacks such as trail mix. In swimming, we played games like Marco Polo. I also helped ‘spot,’ which is like lifeguarding.

“As a counselor, I could choose eight things that I was interested in and the staff placed you in two classes from your choices. Counselors are there to watch the campers, and help keep everything is running smoothly. Each counselor and CIT had a given break period where we could have time to ourselves to eat snacks, go on nature walks or choose another activity.

“The highlight of my camp experience is encouraging the campers to do their best in all the games they participate in and see the smiles on their faces. As a counselor this year, I have accepted more responsibility than when I was a CIT last year. There were more duties as a counselor than as a CIT last year, such as making sure everybody was happy and checking with each camper that they were enjoying themselves. I’ve learned to have a lot of patience!  Patience is a great thing to learn because, it will help me with my relationships in my family, school, 4-H club and in my community.”

Abby has also learned to take charge and be more of a leader.

“As always, responsibility is a huge part of camp,” she said. “The responsibility I have learned at camp will help me with all the responsibilities of preparing for graduation, college applications and college. It was fun to get to know each camper and staff member and play games with everyone and interact. I will remember the people and the games for the rest of my life. The teamwork, the times when we all can be silly, and the laughs shared with the friends you make during camp week are unforgettable. Camp has made me a better person by breaking me out of my shell. I used to be very shy, and camp taught me how to be myself, and not be afraid to be silly when singing camp songs or entertaining campers when the weather causes a change in the schedule.

“Camp has given me an all around positive attitude that I didn’t have as often, before I went to camp. In school, it will help me to not give up if I get a lower grade than I expected or things are not going they way I wanted them to that day. In my family, camp reminds me that everyone has to help out, which helps me do my chores, and even go beyond the things I should be doing around the house. In my club, I learned how to get along with everybody. In my community, I feel that want to help people around my community, and not just children. As a counselor, you need to enforce rules, but also make camp as fun as possible for the campers. We have a motto ‘Camp is for the campers,’ so the counselors and CITs do everything we can do keep the campers happy. I knew my group of campers looked up to me by the middle of the week at camp. Whenever they saw me, they would run up to me and hug me. They had an arts and crafts class, and they would make me bracelets, necklaces, and leather craft art. I think my positive attitude, about camp and everyone around me, impacted them and helped them to enjoy the camp experience more.”

This year, Britches & Boots 4-H Horse Club’s treasurer, Blair Wright, attended camp for the first time. She received information about camp in the past years, but wasn’t sure whether she wanted to go. The camp registration fills up quickly, and this year she was encouraged by Abby to attend.

When Abby asked Blair how was camp, Blair said, “Great! Everyone was super nice and welcoming, and it was so much fun. I met some really nice people and made new friends. The girls in my lodge were awesome. We ate some good food too.

“Everyone at camp participated in some activities together such as swimming, campfire circle, a dance and team activities. I was able to sign up for three activities of my choice – Fun With Food, Performing Arts, and Counselor In Training Prep. In performing arts, we did a play and other role play scenarios. In Fun with Food, we made trail mix and a fruit concoction made of banana with yogurt and fruity pebbles. It was good.”

“My favorite class was CIT Prep,” Wright said. “I’m interested in being a CIT at camp next year and this class helped me see what it would be like. We were given different situations that could occur at camp and we had to figure out how to best handle them.

We went over how to get along with children and bond with them. I learned what to to talk about and what not to talk about at camp; and ways to interact with each camper. I was excited because I had the opportunity to take what I learned and assist staff members in teaching some of the classes at camp. I helped with the Fun with Foods and Swimming classes. It was fun to get to know each camper and staff member and play games with everyone and interact. I will remember the people and the games for the rest of my life.

“I wished I would have signed up for camp several years ago when I first joined 4-H it was so much fun. If you ever have a chance to go to 4-H camp you should go. It is a blast.  I am so excited about camp next year because I would like to be a CIT.  It will be a lot of responsibility as a CIT, I am looking forward to the opportunity to apply and I hope I am selected for CIT for next year.”

There are many opportunities for 4-H members to participate over the summer.  There is 4-H Congress at Virginia Tech. Britches & Boots 4-H Horse Club’s president, Joshua McPherson, represented Southampton County at 4-H Congress this year. To join 4-H, you can register online at or call the Southampton County Extension Office at 653-2572.