It is not too early for 10- to 12-year-olds to be thinking about an outdoor adventure camp this summer. Kansas Wildlife Federation, for which I am a board member, is conducting the 25th Outdoor Adventure Camp from June 2 through June 7 at Rock Springs 4-H Camp just south of Manhattan, Kan., in the Flint Hills.
Camp is open to both boys and girls and there is usually a pretty good balance of both.
Campers get to sleep in bunks in cabins and with adult counselors sharing the cabin to ensure that things stay calm at night. Not that you will always be in bed very early during camp.
This being an outdoor adventure camp, several of the activities involve going out at night to discover what the outdoors has to offer past dark. On different nights you will probably be listening for and calling owls or spotlighting spiders and moths or you may be watching the bats flying around gathering flying insects like moths and mosquitos.
Don't forget the campfires, marshmallows, and camp stories at night and just staying up to discover the nighttime sky filled with stars. Seeing stars is a special treat and watching shooting stars is really special since lots of kids seldom see very many stars in the glow of the city lights.
As for things to do during the day, there are canoe lessons, fishing with instructions from some really good fishermen, a field trip to the Milford Fish Hatchery and Nature Center, and regular camp-type crafts like birdhouse building and painting your own camp T-shirt.
You will also have the opportunity to fling some arrows and one girl last year placed nearly all of her arrows right in the center of the target. I always enjoyed archery and I think that it is a great sport to learn, even for city kids and adults.
At shooting sports you will have the advantage of shooting a 22-rifle, a shotgun, and a black powder muzzle loader rifle. Not many camps give you this kind of diversity in shooting.
The camp counselors generally are quite accomplished in these areas and the KWF tries to provide very good quality equipment that we maintain in excellent condition.
You do not have to be a hunter to enjoy archery or shooting sports and with the Leavenworth area already being a haven for both sports, getting a good start at Outdoor Adventure Camp should be a lot of fun. Our schools and 4-H programs have produced some very proficient shooters over the past years.
Oh yeah, there is an excellent swimming pool at camp where you can cool off when the Kansas weather gets a little hot.
Go to the KWF website to find an application or call 785-526-7466 in the evenings for more information.
Page 2 of 2 - I think that every kid should get the chance to enjoy camp, if for no other reason than to have something to talk about when they get older. Everybody needs to have good camp stories to tell.