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Entertain and educate youth this summer

If you are like me, I worry about how to keep my kids entertained and learning throughout the summer. So how do we keep our kids busy during the summer months when parents still have to work? Have you given any thought to what your kids will be up to this summer?

Why is it so important for youth to keep busy? According to Sandra Simpkins, HFRP Consultant and Research Investigator at the University of Michigan, there has been a surge of public and research interest in the impact of youth’s participation in out-of-school time (OST) activities over the last few decades.

Researchers and practitioners argue that high quality, structured OST programs offer environments that have the potential to support and promote youth development because they situate young people in safe environments, prevent them from engaging in delinquent activities, teach them general and specific skills, beliefs, and behaviors, and provide opportunities to develop relationships with peers and mentors. In fact, there is increasing evidence that participation in quality OST activities influences their current outcomes, which, in turn, impact outcomes into adulthood.

There are several youth organizations such as Wasco County 4-H, Northern Wasco County Parks and Recreation, ACTS, The Discovery Center and Missoula Children’s Theater, just to name a few, that offer inexpensive day camps with many different focuses. For example, Wasco County 4-H offers a residential camp, 4-H Camp Morrow. Young people in fourth through sixth grades will stay in cabins for four days and three nights while exploring interests through a variety of activities, including fishing, paddle boats, camping games, not to mention making new friends!

A variety of summer day camps are also offered by 4-H for young people in third through eighth grades such as Dice, Slice, Simmer and Shred! where participants will explore cooking.

Or maybe their interest is in robotics and they would like to learn more about engineering and programming a Lego Mindstorm Robot. Have you ever wondered what people did before computers? Check out the 4-H Pioneer Camp and come live the life of a pioneer child. Other topics include renewable energy (Wind, Water, Sun and S’Mores), fishing (Fish On!), photography (Picture Perfect), Growing Art and Grow It, Eat It, Be Healthy!

Oregon 4-H is offering a marine science camp, Ocean Watch 4-H Marine Ambassadors Camp on the Oregon State University campus and at Newport June 30 through July 5. Youth will explore Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV) or submersible robots, oceanography and test out the ROV they build in Newport. More information and registration can be found at http://oregon.4h.oregonstate.edu/.

Summer camps are a way to explore topics and learn in a hands-on way. This keeps young people busy and learning during the summer. They take with them skills and knowledge to use for the rest of their lives and it is done in a fun and exciting way!

For more information regarding Wasco County 4-H summer camp programs please contact the OSU Extension Office at 541-296-5494 or visit our website at http://extension.oregonstate.edu/wasco/fourh.

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