SUMMER CAMP: 4-H Open Enrollment Camps Cut

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Bill Carey attended his first Iowa 4-H summer camp nearly a decade ago.

“All my time at the camp has changed me as a person,” said Carey.

He wasn’t involved in 4-H at the time, but was able to get a feel for the program through open enrollment.

Future Iowa children may not get the same opportunity.

Cathann Kress, Vice President of Extension and Outreach for Iowa State University says open enrollment overnight and day camps have been cut this summer due to budget constraints

“We’re trying to understand what the most efficient business model is so we can offer the most in the future,” said Kress.

When campers and families got word of the cuts, they took action.

Facebook pages, websites, and Twitter feeds urged ISU Extension to reconsider.

It’s the reaction Kress says she was actually hoping for.

“What we’ve heard from the families is something we’re grateful for. Their reaction tells us this matters to people still and quite frankly, we’re glad to hear that,” Kress told Channel 13 News.

The wide-spread support for 4-H camps was felt Saturday as 60 volunteers came to the Iowa 4-H Center in Madrid for Spring Volunteer Day.

Their support likely won’t bring back open enrollment camps this year, but not all hope is lost.

ISU Extension says they will work with county programs and the national 4-H program to find ways to attract more campers and hopefully bring back open enrollment camps in 2014.

“We’re delighted people want this program to continue and we want to be responsive to that,” said Kress.

About 600 kids attend 4-H camps at the Iowa 4-H Center in Madrid.

ISU Extension says that number is lower than usual, but camps throughout the country are seeing the same trend.