GREAT FALLS – 4-H is a nationwide organization that teaches kids important skills to guide them in the future.
Cascade County’s 4-H kids recently went on their annual camp retreat to learn more of those skills. From the outside, Camp Rotary near Neihart seems like a normal camp, but inside, kids are building relationships.
“I think it builds something they don’t get normally in school. As far as camaraderie, teamwork, team building skills, and it also sometimes teaches them to get outside their element,” said Ben Roth, a camp leader.
4-H participants spend a week every year at the camp and each year, they learn a new set of skills.
“Not only are we growing as a program, but we’re growing as individuals,” said Ryan Banks, a junior director. “We’re becoming better leaders and becoming better in our products that we do like we do photography; you’re becoming a better photographer. For shooting sports, you’re becoming a better archer or rifleman. So it’s just growing as an individual and growing as a community.”
This year, they learned archery, how to shoot rifles, and made their own 4-H t-shirts, but they also learned how to make their own path.
“It teaches leadership which helps a lot in a job setting, or in school,” said 12-year-old Hudson Rohrer, a 4th-year camper. “You stand out when you have leadership skills in the school and people recognize that.”
It teaches them what it means to be a leader.
“I became a JD (Junior Director) a few years ago and I got to lead the kids, which I love. I love leading people, you know, it’s something that I always liked to do. I like being able to plan things kids are able to have fun at,” said Banks.
And while they’re having fun, they’re also gaining a sense of pride.
“It makes me feel like I’ve done something right, like I’ve helped the world,” said Banks. “You know, living in Montana, we can’t have much of an influence on politics and the ecosystems and things like that, so when I help kids smile like that, that’s my way of contributing to society.”
The kids also had a lot of group activities, which taught them team building skills. One activity was their Escape Room where they had to work together to solve a mystery.
The next event will be the Montana 4-H Congress in Bozeman from July 10th through July 13th. If you have a child between the ages of eight and 18, open enrollment for 4-H starts on Sept 15th. You can click here to start the process.