Many times when we here the phrase “What happens at/in …,” it is followed with the phrase, “stays at/in. …” You know, like “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” But I can assure you, what happens at 4-H camp doesn’t stay at 4-H camp. So, what DOES happen at 4-H camp? Just the usual summer time 4-H fun!

Every year, 4H’ers from across Kansas have the opportunity to attend 4-H camp with their county’s camp group at Rock Springs 4-H Center. Rock Springs is a 735-acre, year-round camp, conference and retreat center nestled in the Flint Hills near Junction City.  4H’ers who attend camp this yea, have a unique opportunity to enjoy big changes to our state’s 4-H center. A zero-depth entry pool was unveiled in 2013. In 2015, the reconstructed Ranch House Water Wheel and plaza was unveiled. Last year, Williams Dining Hall underwent a massive remodel, and a new indoor activity center is now available, complete with a rock climbing wall. 

What is unique about 4-H camp? In Kansas, counties camp together on a rotational basis in camp groups. Cowley County is a member of the Sunny Hills camp group which includes Sumner, Harper,Cherokee, Crawford, Woodson, Greenwood, Lyon, Harvey and Reno counties as well as extension districts Rolling Prairie (Elk and Chautauqua counties), Southwind (Allen, Neosho, Bourbon County), Flint Hills (Chase and Morris counties), Wildcat (Labette, Crawford, Montgomery counties). 

Youth who attend 4-H camp have the opportunity for personal and developmental growth through a range of activities.  In addition to learning basic skills in activities such as canoeing, disc golf, hiking, archery, fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking, swimming and riflery. They learn about our state, wildlife and the outdoors through participation in Pioneer Crossing, Native American Games and the Prairie Learning Center. 4-H members have the opportunity to create lasting friendships with other like-minded youth from across the state. Attending camp away from home encourages the development of independence in youth and further develops social skills. Group participation in challenges and activities throughout the seek develops cooperation, communication and conflict resolution. 

Youth who have completed third grade up to seventh grade are welcome to attend 4-H camp with the Sunny Hills Camp group June 5-8, 2019. Youth do not have the be 4-H members to attend 4-H camp. This year, Cowley County will be taking 15 youth and two teen counselors to camp. Sunny Hills campers are housed in mixed county living groups consisting of eight-10 campers according to grade. Trained teen counselors are assigned to each living group to guide youth throughout the three-day, three-night camp session. Jam-packed full of activities and exciting experiences, campers are guaranteed to create memories to last a lifetime and ensure that what happens at 4-H camp will not stay at 4-H camp.

For more information, contact the Cowley County Extension Office at (620) 221-5450 or (620) 441-4565 or go to

Kelsey Nordyke is the 4-H Youth Development Agent at K-State Research and Extension, Cowley County. She can be reached at 221-5450 or (620) 441-4565.


(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.