Kayaking, cooking and campfires came together Friday at Arcadia Lake as three county 4-H groups sponsored a “Let’s Take the Kids Camping” workshop.
Noble, Cleveland and Oklahoma county 4-H groups partnered together to teach essential camping survival skills, including “leave no trace camping, map and compass orienteering and minimalist camp stove cooking.
Membership was not required, but the day’s activities cost $15 per person and included lunch.
“Eventually we want to build the skill base where they can learn about backpacking, (outdoor) cooking and how to survive in an environment,” said Kyle Worthington, an Oklahoma County 4-H educator.
Worthington said Friday’s activities were an introduction to camping skills so families could go on excursions all across the United States.
He said it’s important for children to learn outdoor activities that go beyond smartphones and video games.
“Our kids are learning so much about technology, they’re very versed in technology,” Worthington said. “But they’re losing out on some of those abilities to be in the outdoors.”
Jessica Morrow, 14, and her mother Sharon are from Norman and said this is their first challenging camping experience.
As Jessica waited to take her kayak onto the water at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Education Center dock on Midwest Boulevard, she admitted to one fear.
“Probably the boat flipping over,” she said with a nervous grin.
Even though kayaking was a new experience, Juliana Williams, 12, of Luther said she wasn’t nervous.
“This is the first time I’ve been in any kind of a boat,” she said.
Fawnda Jarrett said she brought her daughters Jayden and Haylun Brown, 8 and 10 respectively, down from Billings because the price for a day of camping was a good deal for them.
“You can’t experience much because there’s no lakes in Billings,” she said, “and most single moms can’t afford kayaks.”
Children as young as 9 and as old as 19 could participate. Parents were also able to join the fun with their children.
Worthington said he would like to continue putting on these workshops and perhaps get a regular kids camping club started, regardless of whether or not they’re in 4-H.
“I’m excited about getting more kids involved,” he said.
MORE INFORMATION on future camping events can be found by calling Oklahoma State University’s Oklahoma County Cooperative Extension at 713-1125 or online at oces.okstate.edu/oklahoma.