Bruynis, K1; Stumbo, M2
1Area Leader & Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Hillsboro, OH, 45133-1092
2Area Leader & Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pomeroy, OH, 45769


“4-H is for everyone,” but sometimes accessibility issues prevent youth with multiple handicaps the opportunity to attend camp. In Ohio, a statewide 4-H camp is held at Canter’s Cave 4-H Camp for multiple handicapped youth and their caregivers. Special needs youth need the availability of a camp which can accommodate their varying medical, physical and emotional needs. The State Special Needs Camp is designed with these youth in mind and is tailored to their needs. The Camp strives to put a spin on traditional activities so that campers can be engaged, including: environmental science, crafts, music therapy, outdoor education, aquatic skills, and increased team-building and self-reliability skills. The youth, along with their caregivers, enjoy 2 nights and 2 days of a camping experience that would have not been available otherwise through 4-H. This program allows youth to participate in a traditional/non-traditional camping experiences, as Ohio State University Extension and 4-H embraces diversity in all populations. In 2015, the Camp accommodated youth who are aging out of 4-H, but who still value the experiences they have at Camp to continue to attend. These caregivers are also valuable resources for the caregivers of younger children as they learn to navigate the various education, health care and other systems that their children need. Camp Staff strive to keep these young adults, and their families, involved in the event by hosting an Alumni Camp during the same weekend as Special Needs Camp. Meals and some events are planned together, but Alumni and their families have a separate program schedule that allows them some additional freedom. This poster will focus on how the Camp is conducted, including basic scheduling, differences from traditional Camps, additional staff training involved and volunteer management. It is hoped that it will allow other Extension Professionals an opportunity to gauge interest and feasibility in reaching out or expanding programming to this population of youth.

All Accepted Posters