There was a little something for everyone at the recent Cabin Fever Reliever hosted by the Penobscot Fly Fishers at Brewer Auditorium.
There were plenty of fishing exhibits and other stalls to entertain the adults, but the big attraction for the kids was the chance to take the stage and shoot a bow and arrow or throw an atlatl.
This activity, led by Max LaPointe, was part of an exhibit sponsored by the 4-H division of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.
“4-H is currently the No. 1 youth organization in the United States,” said Eri Martin, program coordinator for the 4-H Camp and Learning Center at Greenland Point. “4-H actually has more people involved than even scouts.”
The goal of Greenland Point, one of four learning centers run by Cooperative Extension along with Tanglewood, Blueberry Cove and Bryant Pond, is to teach lifelong outdoor skills. They include specialized programs in fishing, camping, hunter safety, nature, woodcraft, archery, and conservation.
Greenland Point, which operates at Long Lake in the Down East town of Princeton, will once again welcome campers aged 7 to 15 to take part in its myriad of offers this summer.
“These are skills that if we don’t continue to teach the next generation, they’re going to start to fade away,” Martin said.
There is also a Warden Camp that will give campers a taste of the work done by Maine game wardens.
“They won’t find a passion unless they’re exposed to it and get that hands-on experience,” said Martin, who as a youth was active in scouts. “We think it’s so important today.”
All funding for Cooperative Extension 4-H camps comes from funds provided by registration fees.
In some areas of the state, summer camps are also supplemented with school-based outdoor education programs.
The various camps at Greenland Point are spread over four weeks during the summer. Some are offered more than once, while Warden and Hooked on Bass camps are limited to single sessions.
“Our Hooked on Bass Camp, they’re basically on the water from the time the sun comes up until the time the sun goes down,” Martin said, explaining that the program includes a multi-day fishing tournament. .
Naturalist programs teach participants how to explore the outdoors, capture creatures, and learn about habitat.
“Building that greater appreciation and stewardship for the land they live on is really our primary goal,” Martin said.
At Cabin Fever Reliever, children were able to shoot a bow and arrow at a target at close range and also had the chance to throw an atlatl, a spear-throwing lever used by various cultures for millennia.
LaPointe ended up taking on some determined kids who apparently couldn’t get enough of the activity.
The takeaway from Cooperative Extension’s presence at Cabin Fever Reliever is that there are fantastic opportunities for Maine youth in the coming summer.
The cost for Greenland Point camps is $610 for each six-day session. Scholarships are available.
For more information about 4-H Camp and the Greenland Point Learning Center, call 207-665-2068 or email [email protected]