LAAFB 4-H Campers Explore Science, Healthy Living
By Alicia Garges , SMC Public Affairs
/ Published August 26, 2010
LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif -- Today's 4-H program is a lot more than children and teens raising chickens and rabbits to show at the local county fair. Approximately 30 youths from Los Angeles Air Force Base are exploring science, engineering, technology, healthy living and citizenship through participation in 4-H program activities. The LAAFB 4-H program is one of hundreds of similar programs found on military installations around the world.
Since 1995, the 4-H's National Headquarters has partnered with military youth programs to provide educational experiences for kids, ages 5 through 19. According to the 4-H Website, the military program allows youth to continue their projects and involvement in 4-H wherever their families may PCS. To help the military programs run, 4-H youth development specialists from "land grant universities" work with military partners to provide youth services staff members with training and technical assistance.
Recently, 25 4-H club members from here, ages 9 to 18, attended a one-week summer camp at Camp Seeley in the San Bernardino Mountains. Joining the LAAFB campers were 200 youth from various local 4-H groups. Some of the camp activities were typical of summer sleep-away camps such as arts and crafts, hiking, camp fire sing-a-longs and a talent show; however, many of the activities at camp reflected 4-H's science, engineering and technology curriculum. Campers collected water samples and measured pollutants, identified characteristics of different water sources and looked at the impacts of water run-off on urban and rural areas. Even hikes became a science lesson. Campers checked out the plants and animals living in the area and looked at hillside erosion on their daily hikes, said Rebecca Ambro, LAAFB youth coordinator.
The camp was lead by 4-H youth directors in their late teens, said Ambro. While no campers from LAAFB served as camp directors this year, several of the kids plan to apply to be a camp director in the future, she said.
Another recent 4-H activity was a one-week culinary camp held here, July 26-30. An instructor from Chef-K taught the kids about kitchen cleanliness and safety, food prep, etiquette and how to cook, said Ambro. Approximately 25 youth, ages 7 to 18, participated in this year's camp.
In addition to the regular 4-H cooking, craft and gardening club meetings held weekly on base, Ambro is planning a field trip to the Hyperion Water Treatment Plant. The youth attending the trip will be testing water quality and looking at sources of water for the Los Angeles basin. Other field trips and camps will be held in the future building on the 4-H curriculum.
For more information about the LAAFB 4-H program or to join the club, call the Youth Programs office at (310) 653-8383.