Delaware 4-H Program 2018 Friend of Extension Award

Delaware State Police and Camp Barnes. L-R, 4-H educators Kaleb Scott, Kaitlin Klair, DSP’s Sgt. Shawn Hatfield, Lt. Col. Monroe Hudson, Ernie Lopez, Delaware 4-H extension specialist and Michelle Rodgers, UD director of extension

The Delaware 4-H program is fortunate to have loyal, long-term community partners throughout the state. With that said, 2018 proved to be a milestone year for one of those special partnerships with the Delaware State Police, as Delaware 4-H celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Delaware 4-H Camp at Camp Barnes, a facility owned and operated by the State Police in Frankford, Delaware.

Since 1948, a year after Camp Barnes was founded, thousands of Delaware 4-H youth, from 4-H clubs, after school and specialty programs across the state, have enjoyed the peace, serenity and beauty of Camp Barnes, located on Millers Creek, a tributary of the Little Assawoman Bay. A partnership was started and has continued for many years to come, which is appreciated by the Delaware 4-H Program as well as its many 4-H families old and young. While camp classes and camp cuisine have evolved over those 70 years, the goals have always remained the same: to provide Delaware 4-H youth a safe and meaningful overnight camp experience at a safe facility where youth feel welcomed, respected and valued. The Delaware State Police’s Camp Barnes Staff has been a vital part of these goals over the last 70 years. We would not be able to inspire, ensure safety, or let youth from all over Delaware experience Camp Barnes without the help from the Delaware State Police.

The partnership with the Delaware State Police has allowed the Delaware 4-H Program to conduct 2 full week overnight camps for 100+ 4-H youth at Camp Barnes for the past 70 years, where family and friends have come from year to year. We have also been allowed to use the camp facilities to hold our annual State Environmental Camp for younger 4-H members as well as for other camps for various weekends throughout the year including Younger Member Weekends. This has allowed 20,000+ youth to experience camp at Camp Barnes during this time. The current Camp Barnes Director for the Delaware State Police, Shawn Hatfield, is always very accommodating and welcoming to all events we wish to have at the facilitates.

The camp facility is an excellent site to conduct our camp activities for the 4-H members who attended one or more of the various camps conducted each year. The facility consists of 10 cabins equipped with beds, a dining hall, recreation center, and covered pavilion that can be used for the campers attending to sleep, eat and participate in various workshops and activities planned by staff. In addition to these facilities, the camp provides a swimming pool, equipment to kayak or canoe on Millers Creek, archery range, a cement white top for recreational play and lots of acreage to allow for running, fitness or competitive events for the youth. In addition, the camp also provides a constructed council circle in a section of the woods that allows campers to participate in a nightly campfire activity where campers have the experience of learning and singing 4-H camp songs, performing yells and skits they develop in their various camp groups to share with others, and most importantly, to have fun with their fellow campers, counselors and staff. The teamwork, comradery and friendships that are developed during the various camps are many and very hard to describe and articulate for sure. These longstanding friendships are clearly seen in the 4-H Camp Alumni when they return to attend a planned Camp Reunion event every five years at Camp Barnes. In addition, the Delaware 4-H Program has assisted with raising and providing monetary funds over the various years of our partnership which have helped with various building projects and maintenance of the camp facilities that our youth have used. Many individuals also assist on an annual basis with camp clean up to help prepare the camp each year for new camps planned.

The Four Essential Elements of the 4-H program are: belonging, independence, mastery and generosity. At 4-H State Camp, these essential elements have been woven into the daily class curriculum and social fabric of the camping experience for each of those 70 years. And as a youth serving organization, those of us in Delaware 4-H, look forward to the success of another 70 years and even more to come in partnership with our friends in the Delaware State Police at Camp Barnes.