This past week, June 4-8, Gordon County 4-H traveled with 63 4-H’ers, 5 teen leaders, and 4 adult leaders to Rock Eagle 4-H Center for a week of Cloverleaf Camp. The campers were youth who had just finished 4th-6th grade, thirty-eight girls and twenty-five boys. Rock Eagle 4-H Center is the largest 4-H center in the world, with 1,500 acres of forested land and a 110-acre lake. The Center can house up to 1,000 campers and adults. Gordon County was one of 19 counties that camped at Rock Eagle 4-H Center last week and brought one of the largest delegations to the camp. The camp has a Native American theme based on its historic origins with the Rock Eagle effigy mound. The Rock Eagle nation is made up of three tribes: Cherokee, Muskogee, and Shawnee. Each county is assigned to a tribe and all week long the tribes participate in a friendly competition to determine who will win the tribal shield as having the best week of camp. Tribal shield points are awarded based on spirit and enthusiasm of campers, pageant games, wet games, cleanliness of cabins and areas, and adherence to lights out.

Those that were first time campers followed a schedule that included a workshop each day on a topic like wildlife, forestry, archery, canoeing, herpetology, entomology, conservation, lake ecology, and healthy living, as well as organized recreation, crafts, nature hikes, Native American history, swimming and free time. These campers also get to participate in wet games, a variety of activities played on a huge slip and slide area. Returning campers and those in the 6th grade followed a different schedule, had four workshops each day, and had opportunities to do high ropes course elements including the climbing wall, zip line, and swing shot, as well as STEM activities like robotics and rocketry.

Night activities included a night swim and night hike for returning campers, and a camp dance and camp games for first-time campers. All campers participated in a Monday night skit and tribal campfire and learned about the Native American origins of Rock Eagle. Everyone also enjoyed the counselor variety show, where the Rock Eagle 4-H Center counselors put on a show for the campers. On Thursday night, the campers participated in pageant games like archery, crab crawl, rope pull, sore-toe relay, foot races, and others. Following the pageant games, the campers watched the Rock Eagle counselors put on a pageant that provides the thrill of a native legend about how Rock Eagle came to be. On Friday morning, all the campers gathered together on the side of a hill for the presenting of the tribal shield, and Gordon County 4-H, along with four other counties, brought home the Tribal Shield as a member of the Muskogee tribe.

Trained teen leaders attending camp included Brandon Bagley, Chelsea Clayton, Breana Manning, Hannah McElrath, and Bryson Smith. Adult leaders included 4-H Agent Allie Griner, 4-H Program Assistants Becky Pass and Tim Street, and Volunteer Leader Caleb Griner. The United Way of Gordon County provided sponsorship for over twenty youth to attend camp for free or for a reduced price, and also provided water bottles for every youth attending camp. For more information about 4-H camp opportunities for youth, please contact the Gordon County Extension/4-H office at 706-629-8685.