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4-H’ers attend camp at Rock Eagle
University of Georgia Extension Service
It started early on a hot, muggy Monday morning on July 1. Forty-seven 4-H members and leaders met up in the parking lot on the south end of town to load their luggage and board the school bus bound for the Rock Eagle 4-H Center. They were all headed to 4-H camp, many for their first week-long adventure away from mom and dad.
The trip to Rock Eagle would take about three to four hours with a stop for lunch on the way up. Upon arriving at Rock Eagle, the group climbed the tower to view the Native American mound shaped like an eagle. After viewing the mound, it was back on the bus to check in and register at the camp ground. The students were met by the Muskogee Tribe S & R Counselors for a brief orientation. Next they received their name tags and schedules, took a bus tour of the camp, and moved in to the cabins. Then it was off to one of the two swimming pools to cool down in the hot afternoon sun. That evening, the cabin counselors came to the cabin to greet the campers and get to know them. Then it was off to the huge dining hall for dinner. After dinner, we had a tribal meeting and then went to the pageant grounds for a welcoming assemble and a skit put on by the counselors.
After an early wake-up call on Tuesday morning, everyone cleaned and straightened up their cabins before heading to the dining hall for breakfast. After breakfast, groups met on the Sutton Hall lawn for the morning’s workshops. Some would have classes such as entomology, herpetology, archery, wildlife, lake ecology to name a few, while others might have free time to go swimming or visit the canteen. The same would occur after lunch as well. This would be the schedule for Tuesday through Thursday at camp. Each evening would be a different experience.
On Tuesday evening, the campers learned about Native Americans of the Southeastern United States with a true Native American, John Winterhawk. Since it was the week of Independence Day, we also enjoyed fireworks on Tuesday evening.
On Wednesday evening, the camp counselors put on a wonderful variety show. The older folks in the crowd (like me) needed some earplugs for this, but they did a wonderful job with a lot of entertaining acts. The campers had a blast. After the show, the blue string campers had a hike to the Pioneer Camp where they made s’mores and the red and white string campers had a dance at the Senior Pavilion.
On Thursday evening, the camp counselors presented a slide show of photos from the week and then presented the Rock Eagle Pageant. The pageant includes contests between the three tribes, Cherokees, Shawnees, and Muskogees. These games included things like rope pull, crab crawl, and one legged race. After the games, the counselors enact the Rock Eagle story.
Each night just before bedtime, the cottage counselors would visit the cabins and have a brief reflection time as well as go over the next day’s schedule. They would bring milk and juice for the campers as well.
On Friday morning, everyone packed up their belongings, loaded the luggage, cleaned the cabins, had breakfast, and awaited the awarding of the tribal shield. Unfortunately, the Muskogee tribe didn’t win the tribal shield this week, but we had a great time at camp anyway.
Coffee County 4-H was also blessed to have five college age students working as camp counselors at Rock Eagle this summer, four of which were Muskogees and three of which were our cottage counselors. Travis Dopson was serving in a leadership role as a Mico for the Muskogee Tribe. Rian Hill and Micheal Woods were serving their second year as camp counselors and were both Muskogees while Kyya Johnson (also a second year) was a Shawnee Counselor. Evie Woodward was serving her first year as a counselor and was also a Muskogee. Rian was the cottage counselor for the boy’s cabin, while Evie and Micheal were cottage counselor for our girl’s cabins.
We had a great week of camp and all of our 4-H members were well behaved and I believe they all had a great time.
If you have questions about the Coffee County 4-H Club program, or questions around the farm or home, please feel free to contact the Coffee County Extension office at (912) 384-1402. Remember, we are YOUR local connection to the University of Georgia.