Every summer, 4-H’ers from around the state have the opportunity to participate in any of the many camps and activities offered. One of the most popular? Tennessee 4-H Electric Camp.
Now in its 28th year, Electric Camp was first held in 1992. It all began with Dr. Mike Buschermohle, Assistant Dean for Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science.
“I started the 4-H Electric Camp before STEM became mainstream,” says Buschermohle. “I wanted to show Tennessee 4-H’ers that learning about electricity and other basic sciences can be both exciting and fun.”
This year’s camp was held June 25-28 at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Over four days, campers participated in experiential learning and educational programs and learned more about the field.
Though Electric Camp utilizes a variety of learning environments, the hallmark of the camp are the two half-day sessions that emphasize hands-on learning, allowing campers to break into small groups and rotate through six 65-minute learning centers.
This year’s theme was Power and Opportunity, and activities included making electric lamps and a session centered on electric vehicles, allowing students to put their skills to the test by maneuvering an electric golf cart through an obstacle course. Students also learned about harnessing solar energy, generating wind energy and conserving energy in their homes, as well as important information about electrical safety. In addition to the hands-on activities, campers also had the opportunity to hear presentations during the opening and closing programs of the camp.
But don’t worry, 4-H Electric Camp still manages to squeeze in some fun in between programs. Other activities include spending an afternoon at Dollywood, swimming, and throwing the largest pizza party on campus each summer.
Electric Camp is for students who have completed 6th and 7th grades, and is made possible by partnerships with the University of Tennessee Extension, Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association and its statewide member cooperatives, the Tennessee Municipal Electric Power Association and its statewide member municipal systems, TVA, and industry donors.
“The overall goal of 4-H Electric camp is to improve young 4-H members’ knowledge in subject areas,” Buschermohle says.
For more information about Electric Camp, please visit 4h.tennessee.edu/Pages/elecamp.aspx