Do you remember a time when you felt independent for the first time? It is here at camp that as an eleven year old that you truly begin to learn about yourself and gain independence. That’s just what happen as a fifth grade student at Cartersville Elementary for Alex Hale.

Studies show that both educators and parents are concerned about summer learning loss in students. Camp is a life changing opportunity for 4-6 grade youth that encompasses environmental education classes, being physically active, unplugging from technology, gaining independence, and having fun. Since summer camp is a five day four night stay at Rock Eagle 4-H Center and it can be a financial strain for some families. As one of five siblings, Alex found himself unable to attend camp due to those constraints. Due to United Way’s support, 4-H is able to offer scholarships to attend summer camp based on financial need and involvement in 4-H activities. As the CES, 5th grade 4-H President attending all the meetings, Alex was certainly deserving.

As Alex was reflecting on his trips to summer camp, he realized how his goals and outlook changed upon returning home. Alex mastered swimming, a skill he never learned until at camp. Not only did he have the chance to swim, but he was able to see and experience lake life by canoeing and sailing for the first time. Sailing turned out to be his favorite part of summer camp. Alex’s mentor in the Cartersville School Systems is supportive of his involvement in 4-H camps. He encourages him to be a leader and to have experiences, like 4-H summer camp that will better him for the future. Overall, Alex said that camp was positive experience for him allowing him to gain independence and have fun learning.