Six-day camp teaches youngsters outdoor skills from fishing, swimming, and star-gazing to canoeing, archery, and wingshooting
JUNCTION CITY — The Kansas Wildlife Federation (KWF) and the K-State Cooperative Extension Service are sponsoring the 23rd Annual Outdoor Adventure Camp (OAC) June 5-10 at the Camp WaShunGa area of Rock Springs 4-H Center, near Junction City. Youngsters ages 10 through 12 are eligible to attend.

“This six-day summer camp is for kids who either enjoy the outdoors or want to learn more about it,” says KWF event organizer Tommie Berger. “If you are a Kansas youngster who will be in age group 10 through 12 this summer — or are a parent of one of these youngsters — and enjoy being outdoors, please consider this opportunity. It is open to all Kansas boys and girls. We even get a few youngsters from surrounding states. And we allow youngsters to come back as junior counselors once they turn 16.”

Participants will spend mornings exploring the grounds at Rock Springs with instructors, observing Kansas animals and plants close-up. Session subjects include insects, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, fish management, wildlife management, wetlands, birds, and stream ecology. Afternoons will be spent learning about birds of prey, skins and skulls, bats, streams, and more general topics, including ecology, wetlands, riparian areas, and watersheds. Instructors from the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Kansas State University, the Natural Resource Conservation Service, county conservation districts, the Riley County Fish and Game Association, 4-H clubs, and other organizations will be on hand.

“This camp is meant to be an outdoor experience just short of camping in a tent, so we’ll sleep in screened-in bunk houses that do not have air conditioning,” Berger explains. “But it’s not truly primitive; the swimming pool and dining hall are the main hubs of activity during free time.”

After dark, participants may prowl for owls, star-gaze, or watch bats hunt bugs. Evening swims will be followed by campfire stories and snacks. One evening will feature a friendly fishing competition.

Other activities include scavenger hunts; swimming and canoeing; fishing; rifle, shotgun, muzzleloader, archery, and pellet gun shooting; arts and crafts; and horseback riding. A trip to the Milford Nature Center and Fish Hatchery will occupy one day.

Participants should bring a swimsuit, sleeping gear, and clothes for a week. Sunscreen, insect repellent, a cap, a fishing pole, and a water bottle are also recommended. Food, instruction, and lodging are all included in the $250 price of the six-day camp. Some conservation groups and sportsman’s clubs offer Outdoor Adventure Camp scholarships. The Kansas Wildlife Federation and the Outdoor Writers of Kansas offer scholarships in cooperation with Kansas Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Space is limited to 50 youngsters, and the registration deadline is June 4.

“Youngsters and parents are required to sign a Code of Conduct form, which is basically an acknowledgement that everyone is aware of the camp rules and policies,” cautions Berger. “If poor behavior or homesickness lead to a child being sent home, there are no refunds, so please consider that before enrolling a youngster in OAC.”

For application, camp, or scholarship information, write Outdoor Adventure Camp, Theresa Berger, 406 S. New York Ave., Sylvan Grove, KS 67481; phone 785-526-7466; or e-mail bergkwf@wtciweb.com. Checks should be made out to the Kansas Wildlife Federation.