Happy campers!

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(This is the second in a two-part series on 4-H camp. The first article, written by teen counselor Annette Crowell, appeared in the June 30 issue.)

Our days at camp have come and gone, and summer is winding down.
We’ve been back from camp for more than a month, but I still remember everything clearly.
All the counselors arrived at 4-H Camp Whitewood in Ashtabula County at 8 a.m. to get ready for our campers. In Cabin 1, we (counselors Samantha Cope, Emily and Val Goerig, and me) started unpacking and decorating our cabin in our western theme.
Our cabin was packed with stuff, everything from a cowboy and wanted posters to a refrigerator.
Let the fun begin. Then the campers started showing up. (Our cabin seemed to have some fun girls.)
We assured the parents their daughters would have a great time, waved goodbye to everyone, then the fun began.
First, we told our girls our cabin was going to win everything from the dress-a-counselor contest to clean cabin award. Some of the campers were in our cabin last year and they remembered how we won everything the year before and they were looking for a repeat.
After the girls got settled in, we went to the recreation pad (a pavilion used for everything from meals to dances) for a little introduction. Then, it was off to lunch.
Taking a dip. After lunch, we got together with our day groups and went to our afternoon sessions. My group, the blue group, was crazy.
We just happened to have boating that first afternoon so another counselor, Josh, a camper, Melinda, and I went out in a canoe.
Everything was going great until all three of our paddles ended up on the same side of the boat.
The next thing I knew we were in the water.
Melinda was screaming, “I want my mommy!” and Josh and I were trying to flip our canoe back over.
We had to swim back to shore, which is hard in soaking wet tennis shoes. Eventually, we made it back to the dock and we could laugh about it.
Giddyup. That night was the camp dress-a-counselor contest. We decided to dress up Val. Since our theme for camp was the “Wild, Wild West”, she was a cowgirl.
Cabin 1 won, of course!
Spic and span. Wednesday was our second day at camp and our first full day.
After breakfast, it was back to the cabins again to clean. Our campers made sure ours was spotless (plus we left a little bribe of Popsicles, candy, and pop for the judges for clean cabin award).
Then we set out with day groups for our morning sessions.
A little later in the day, the winners of the clean cabin award were announced: Cabin 1 won!
Two left feet. Our day went pretty good, and that night we had a rodeo and a dance. We learned how to square dance and line dance. The only thing I knew was the do-si-do and the Electric Slide, so I wasn’t very good at this.
After our dance lessons, we had a regular dance, but it was cut short because some campers were tired from our busy day.
I don’t know who these campers were, but they definitely weren’t from my cabin! Our girls were so hyper after the dance, there was no way they were going to bed at lights out.
It seemed like I just fell asleep when my alarm woke me.
Slides and skits. Thursday was our last full day at camp and we had tons of fun things planned.
We had a huge slip-and-slide down one of the camp hills. Everybody had a lot of fun on that, even if we did get covered in grass and mud and scratched by the hay bales that held down of the sides of the giant piece of plastic.
That night we did skits.
Our cabin did a skit about a funeral director who was going out of business because nobody was dying, so she found some famous people who had many problems, such as Shania Twain (who was starting to feel more like a man than a woman), Jennifer Lopez (whose butt was just too big), and an anorexic Mary-Kate Olsen (who ate an entire Popsicle) and tricked them into jumping off a bridge to put her back in business.
It may sound kind of dark in print, but it’s pretty funny in person.
Four H’s. That night we also had a campfire.
During the campfire, we had stories from the Wild West, some talks about friendships, and our “H’s” ceremony.
The “H” ceremony is when we honor the people at camp who embody the four H’s, health, heart, hands, and head.
We also give the spirit award for the person who has all of those qualities.
After the campfire, we lit candles and made a giant horseshoe with candles from the whole camp and we talked about the memories we made this year at camp.
Then, it was the hug circle, which, if you haven’t guessed it yet, is where you make a huge circle and hug everyone from camp.
Finally, it was back to the cabins for our last night at camp.
Pillow talk. Our girls didn’t want to sleep, and who can blame them? It was the last night of camp!
So, we sat on the floor and ate and drank the rest of our supplies and just talked.
Our campers confessed their camp crushes, which I cannot reveal since I pinky swore to keep the names a secret.
After a while, our party was broken up and we were all sent to bed for a little sleep before we had to pack up our bags and go home.
Heading for home. Friday, we woke up and had breakfast in our cabin. The campers were sad because they would be going home in a few hours.
After breakfast, we started the extremely long process of packing up. Being the over-packer that I am, I took way too much stuff.
Our cabin began to empty out as the girls packed their clothes and rolled up their sleeping bags.
Every year while cleaning the cabin, it seems there is always a disgustingly dirty sock on the floor that nobody will claim, and this year was no exception.
I hauled almost all my stuff out of good ol’ Cabin 1, but the question remained how to get my little cube refrigerator out to the area with the rest of our bags.
Eventually, I got permission for a couple boys to come over on the girl’s side (gasp!) and carry it out.
After a few activities and lunch, it was time for everyone to leave.
Parents started rolling in and goodbyes, hugs, and the promises to come back next year were all around.
Tons of fun. This year was a fun camp. We made tons of memories and made lots of new friends.
Cabin 1 was the best. I might be a little biased, but those girls were so much fun. So, Kayla, Chloe, Kyla, Alex, Nicole, Emily, and Amanda, thanks for a fun camp.
While at camp, one of the cooks even told me that she liked my first article in the Farm and Dairy, which her sister cut out and saved for her. She wasn’t the only one who talked to me about that first article, either.
I guess everyone likes a good camp story. Everyone has a camp memory and special friend to go along with it.
So, take a moment and reminisce about all the fun times you’ve had at camp and never forget all the people you met there.
(Sixteen-year-old Annette Crowell, a Columbiana County 4-H’er, runs into camp and 4-H friends all over the place.)

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