Summer Youth Camp Aims to Boost Nature Connections and Knowledge

RocketKids Article

Limited spots remain open for a unique summer day camp that offers children and young teens a chance to learn more about nature and science while taking field trips to Sarasota County parks, preserves, beaches and more. Combining hiking, fishing, wildlife watching, exploration and other outdoor adventures with an array of indoor, hands-on, science-themed activities, the “4-H Exploring Your Environment" camp from UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County aims to help youth connect with and better understand the outdoor world. Studies have shown a marked decrease in the amount of time children spend in outdoor, natural settings. Having positive experiences in the natural environment, though, has been shown to benefit physical and mental well-being, as well as increase the desire to protect and preserve key ecosystems and settings. The “4-H Exploring Your Environment" camp, offered June 17-21 and open to youth ages 10-14, provides key steps on that journey. Camp runs 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (with before- and after-care available), starting each day at the Extension office in Twin Lakes Parks. From there, campers will travel to locations like Oscar Scherer and Myakka River state parks, Manasota Beach, and Mote Aquaculture Research Park for a day of outdoor experiences, before returning to the Extension complex. During field trips, planned outdoor adventures will showcase elements of nature, along with scientific methods to study and learn more about the experiences. Arts and crafts activities, food tastings, scavenger hunts and other youth development hands-on activities to further engage campers. Camp spots are limited, and advance registration is required. The five-day camp costs $200 per participant (scholarships possible), and includes activities, travel to and from field locations, and snacks during camp hours. For an additional fee, after- and/or before-camp care also is available. Learn more and register at https://srq4-hcamp2024.4honline.com, or get more information by emailing 4h@scgov.net or calling 941-861-9833.

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