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A Midwest summer dream
Catching fireflies, fishing, the smell of the corn growing, weeding the garden, picking strawberries, campfires, fairs, spitting watermelon seeds, preparing livestock for show, playing flashlight tag, camping – these are all fond memories of my childhood being raised on a farm in central Illinois. It is funny how the little things seem to frame our childhood experiences.
This week, my husband and I had the opportunity to give our daughter a great summer experience for her childhood memory book brought to her by University of Illinois Extension - 4-H Memorial Camp at Allerton Park. This gem hosts thousands of youth ages 8 - 16 each summer to enjoy numerous activities and embrace 4-H’s “learning by doing” methods. If you are not familiar with 4-H Memorial Camp, you should check it out at web.extension.illinois.edu/4hmemorialcamp/. For more than 60 years, youth have benefitted from this treasure – thanks in large part to the dedicated staff led by Curt Sinclair, families who have sent their children year-after-year, and the many donors who give to ensure the 4-H Memorial Camp experience continues for generations to come.
The energy and excitement leading up to camp in our household was undoubtedly on par with a trip to Disney World – in fact, it might have been greater! Upon arrival at camp, Anna Kate was quickly greeted and directed to her cabin, where she and her camping buddy, Emily, became fast friends with their bunk mates! While parents might have had apprehensions about leaving them behind – the kids couldn’t wait to get mom and dad down the road so the adventures of summer camp could begin!
Thank you Illinois 4-H for making this experience available to my child and to so many others. In a world where so much changes so rapidly, the opportunity to give children those lifelong childhood memories that will become a part of their personal life story are priceless.