The closure of 4-H camps throughout Kentucky due to COVID-19 puts the University of Kentucky cooperative in a deficit. With a near half-million dollar deficit across all four camps, this season will be difficult.
"It's also just bad that all these kids don't get their summer camp experience like they were hoping to," said Kevin Pettigrew, camp director of the J.M. Feltner Memorial 4-H Camp. "That's why this Saturday, May 23, we're going to host Camp From Your Car. And if it's popular enough, we'll do another one in June and another one in July."
Camp From Your Car is a free event for anyone who wants to attend. A number of camp stations will be set up at the J.M. Feltner Memorial 4-H Camp for activities families can participate in right from their car. The events include Sally Down the Alley, the Grey Squirrel Hunt, and a burning clover campfire.
"Every night at summer camp, we do an activity called Sally Down the Alley, that's a dance kind of thing," Pettigrew explained. "From their car, families will sing and dance. The whole way around the camp as they drive, they'll be looking for grey squirrels, we're calling it a Grey Squirrel Hunt -- the grey squirrel is kind of our camp mascot. Cardboard cutouts of squirrels will be posted onto windows, and the kids will count them to see how many they can find. The closer they are to the right number, the bigger the prize they can spin from the giant prize wheel. They will stay in the car, and a volunteer staff member will spin the wheel for them."
In addition, 4-H staff will give out free camp cookies in the dining hall and sell merchandise through the country store, a way for families to support 4-H financially.
"Traditionally, we typically burn a big metal clover as our last campfire of every week of Camp. During Camp From Your Car, we're bringing the clover over to a better viewing spot, and we'll park cars all around the lake, so all of the families can get to see that. We'll sing our traditional camp songs as we enjoy the fire," said Pettigrew.
Camp From Your Car will take place over two different time slots. As of the writing of this article, the 6 p.m. through 7:15 p.m. timeslot was nearly out of reservations. The 7:45 p.m. through 9 p.m. slot is still open and can be registered for through the J.M. Feltner Facebook page at facebook.com/UK4HCampFELTNER.
Families who can't make it to Camp From Your Car can also participate in 4-H activities right from home with the Camp in a Box. Each of the six different boxes comes with a packet of activities, a camp recipe, and a letter from camp director Pettigrew. They also come with merchandise such as stuffed animals, t-shirts, and color-changing cups. Camp in a Box packages are available on Camp in a Box can be bought on 4Hstore.com.
Kentucky's 4-H program can also be supported through the Emerald Gala, a virtual gala sponsored by Heritage Bank at https://kentucky4hfoundation.org/camp. The camp store can be visited at