Video featuring Rhea County 4-Her shows kids, parents, where summer fun begins

Zip line at Tennessee 4-H Camp

Zipping along over camp is among the many activities that today's 4-H camps offer students. For more information about camping opportunities in 2014, contact your local county UT Extension agent. Photo by C. Denney. Download image


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – After a long winter, many kids are dreaming of summer fun – and that could include a trip to a Tennessee 4-H camp. Tennessee 4-H operates camps in Columbia, Crossville and Greeneville, and extension agents in every county are now registering thousands of kids for this summer’s adventures. But there’s always room for more campers.

If you are interested in your child attending a 4-H camp, please contact the University of Tennessee Extension office in your county for information about registration. 4-H is the youth development program for UT Extension.

The recruitment campaign includes a new promotional video highlighting the fun of camp – as seen through the eyes of a camper. It’s hosted by Rhea County 4-H member Katie Harris, a sixth grader from Dayton who spent a week at the Clyde Austin 4-H Center in Greeneville last year. Katie introduces segments about camp life, laughs and goofs off during the eight minute video – which also includes sound bites from 17 other kids from across the state who went to camp last summer.

“I’ve been to 4-H camp, and it’s amazing,” Katie says. “I want other kids to go and have that kind of fun. I thought this video would be a fun experience – and it was! – and also a great way to encourage other kids across the state to go to camp.”

Chuck Denney with UT Institute of Agriculture Marketing and Communications Services, produced the video and “discovered” Katie when he was interviewing campers. He brought Katie and her parents to the UT agricultural campus in Knoxville to shoot additional segments and have her record audio. “When I first met Katie, I was impressed with her personality and enthusiasm. About halfway back on the drive from Greeneville to Knoxville, it occurred to me – she’s your narrator. Katie is a natural, and other kids will really relate to her,” Denney said.

To see for yourself how much fun 4-H camp can be, go online to the YouTube video “Fun, Friends, 4-H:Summer Starts Here.”

More than 4,000 Tennessee youth are expected to attend the three summer camps in 2014. Any child in the fourth through the eighth grade is eligible, and you don’t have to be a 4-H member to attend. Kids can take part in activities from arts and crafts to zip-lining. Each camp also has its own pool and dormitories, as well as nature centers, hiking trails and sports fields.

“They get an opportunity to do archery, rifle, canoeing, swimming – some things they don’t get to do at home in the summertime,” said Scottie Fillers, camp director at the Clyde York Center in Crossville. “It’s all really hands-on, and we focus on getting them moving.” The other Tennessee camps are the W.P. Ridley Center in Columbia and the Clyde Austin Center in Greeneville.

Mostly though the chief experience kids get from a week at camp is meeting new friends. “It’s like a city of kids,” said Joshua Taylor, a 4-Her from Sumner County.

“My favorite part has probably been meeting new people, not just from this area, but from all over Tennessee,” said Cumberland County 4-Her Callie Strong.

“It’s been a really, really exciting experience because I’ve never been to summer camp before, and I just love it here,” said Smith County 4-Her Chloe Baker.

4-H agents with UT Extension also spend a week at camp with the kids. “It’s really cool that parents trust us enough to send their kids with us for a week. We just try to keep them busy, keep them engaged, and usually by Friday they’re worn out, but they’ve had a great week,” said Taunee Whittenbarger with UT Extension in Cumberland County.

UT Extension provides a gateway to the University of Tennessee as the outreach unit of the UT Institute of Agriculture. With an office in every Tennessee county, UT Extension delivers educational programs and research-based information to citizens throughout the state. In cooperation with Tennessee State University, UT Extension works with farmers, families, youth and communities to improve lives by addressing problems and issues at the local, state and national levels.

4-H is the youth development program for UT Extension. 4-H teaches leadership, citizenship and service learning to approximately 184,600 Tennessee youth in the fourth through twelfth grades. 4-H also has more than 6,100 adult volunteers in the state. For more information, visit the website



For Katie Harris – Anna Johnson, UT Extension, Rhea County, 423-775-7807,

Scottie Fillers, York 4-H Center, Crossville, 931-788-2288,

Terri Quillin, Ridley 4-H Center, Columbia, 931-388-4011,

Andy Seals, Austin 4-H Center, Greeneville, 423-639-3811,