Rock Springs Ranch Unveils New Model 4-H Camp | State

K-State Research and Extension, the Kansas 4-H Foundation and Rock Springs Ranch present a new camp model for the 2022 camp season at Rock Springs Ranch. This new model will focus on the positive development of 4-H youth for Kansas youth ages 8-18 to prepare them for the challenges of the 21st century. Rock Springs Ranch is a non-profit Kansas 4-H camp and conference center firmly rooted in 4-H values ​​with additional programming from three Centers of Excellence that focus on leadership development, education in conservation and athletic skills.

The camp is located on 735 acres of prairie in the Kansas Flint Hills and, for 75 years, has hosted generations of campers, families and individuals seeking a retreat in a natural setting.

The new model meets, and in some cases exceeds, guidelines set by the American Camp Association (ACA), the only national peer-to-peer professional accreditation program for camps and the Rock Springs Ranch accreditation body. . This accreditation is what many parents see as the “seal of approval” when choosing a quality camp experience for their children.

Improvements include:

  • Year round summer camp team: A highly qualified Camp Director will lead this team of Program Managers and Advisors under the supervision of the Executive Director of Rock Springs Ranch.

  • Online registration system: This improved registration system makes it easier for 4-H members and other campers to register for the next camp season.

  • Early bird registration for 4-H members: Beginning September 1, Kansas 4-H members will receive priority registration to register for any camp session. 4-H members who register before October 31 will receive a 10 percent discount. This gives individual extension groups the opportunity to coordinate and assist together. Extension workers are welcome with their camp group.

  • Dates of attendance open to 4-H: This provides more flexibility for campers who in the past could not participate with their local extension unit or regional camp group. An open attendance schedule will help families tailor the camp for visits with distant family, vacations, summer sports, and other activities.

  • Registration open: This creates a unique opportunity to introduce more young Kansans to the guiding principles of 4-H and its mission of civic engagement, leadership, healthy living and science. Registration open to non-4-H members will begin on November 1, 2021.

  • Extended programming: Teens now have the opportunity to participate in leadership development programs that build community development skills, spark initiative and result in strong college applications. This includes the 4-H Teen Camp, Leader-in-Training and Counselor-in-Training programs.

  • Recently updated health center: Staffed with medical professionals and open 24/7, Rock Springs Ranch Health Center will meet the mental and physical needs of campers.

“We are excited to launch this new model because it strengthens programming to benefit our youth and also improves the survival of Rock Springs Ranch for at least 75 years,” said Jim Wheaton, Executive Director of Rock Springs Ranch. “K-State Research and Extension, the Kansas 4-H Foundation and the Rock Springs Ranch management teams stand together to ensure the legacy of Kansas 4-H Camp for years to come. ”

In order to help Kansas youth campers experience all that Kansas 4-H has to offer, two camp participation options are now available. The traditional 4-day / 3-night session is still available for young campers who wish to immerse themselves in Kansas 4-H programming. The new 7 day / 6 night session allows campers to repeat their favorite activities, cement new friendships and truly experience the positive development of 4-H youth.

Adding counselors to the staff will provide campers with an enhanced and impactful experience in all parts of the camp. This increase in staff will improve all facets of the camp by speeding up programming, streamlining operations and implementing security protocols.

The general improvements will result in a modest increase in camp registration fees, but the sponsors have plans in place to reduce financial barriers for those wishing to attend camp at Rock Springs Ranch.

“The Kansas 4-H Foundation’s contributions fund Rock Springs Ranch and Extension’s fundraising generosity will continue as it always has,” said Jake Worcester, President and CEO of Kansas 4-H Foundation. “A new ‘Choose Your Prize’ program will allow all young people to participate in the camp. ”

4-H youth development programs are overseen by the K-State Research and Extension Administration.

“We are inspired by the new model of camp at Rock Springs Ranch,” said Wade Weber, department head and head of 4-H youth development and head of the 4-H state program at K-State Research and Extension. “These expanded experiences planned for 2022 will only make a great 4-H camp experience, even better. The 4-H program helps young people disconnect and explore the world around them, while developing leadership skills that they will retain for a lifetime.

Visit to access the new online registration system.

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