L-R: Rachel Wigington, Bob Jasperse, Katherine Kirby and Mary Alice Jasperse
3/16/2012 - Mary Alice Jasperse, Bob Jasperse, Rachel Wigington, and Katherine Kirby all 4-H members of Pickens County and are among 90 young people from across Georgia who have been hired as a camp counselors in the 2012 Georgia 4-H Summer Camping Program, accepting an assignment to serve at Rock Eagle 4-H Center near Eatonton.
Arch Smith, State 4-H Leader and Director of Georgia 4-H, says it is young people like Mary Alice, Bob, Rachel, and Katherine who have helped Georgia 4-H’s camping program gain a national reputation for excellence. “Georgia 4-H is fortunate to have one of the strongest summer camping programs in United States. “The ninety young people we hire to work as summer camp counselors are a very important part of our 4-H summer camping success,” according to Smith.
This will be Mary Alice’s fifth summer as a Georgia 4-H camp counselor. Bob and Rachel are in their third year as a counselor. This will be Katherine’s first year as a counselor. About half of the 61 applicants seeking their first summer in the program, and about 60 of the 90 applicants seeking to return for another summer as a 4-H camp counselor were offered employment in a highly competitive process.
All 4 of these young people were very prosperous Pickens County 4-H’ers. Each one of them achieved “Master” status after winning state in their individual project areas. They have put in many hours of community service in Pickens County and served as teen leaders to many younger 4-H’ers in the program.
While campers do not arrive until June, work has already begun for these individuals and their colleagues. All 90 counselors gathered the last weekend in February at Rock Eagle 4-H Center in Eatonton to begin their training, with an emphasis on safety and positive youth development. Training specific to their assigned daily duties and responsibilities during the summer will be held at Rock Eagle 4-H Center in mid- to late-March.
Mary Alice has been selected as Lead Counselor for the entire group of 58 counselors at Rock Eagle. She will also serve as Waterfront Coordinator. Bob and Rachel are tribal leaders: Bob is the male leader for the Cherokee Tribe and Rachel is the female leader for the Shawnee Tribe. Katherine is a member of the Cherokee tribe and will teach archery to campers. Rock Eagle is known for its famous “Native American” theme. Campers will refer to Mary Alice, Bob, and Rachel as “Mico” which is an Indian term meaning “leader”.
Over the course of the summer of 2012, Georgia 4-H expects 9,000 – 10,000 campers, aged 9 – 18, along with their adult and teen leaders, to attend a week of camp at one of the five 4-H centers across Georgia. The desired end result of the camping experience is a future in Georgia 4-H.
“We want our campers to have a safe and fun-filled week of camp,” says Charlie Wurst, Extension 4-H Camping Specialist, “but we also want them to be exposed to many of the opportunities for success offered by involvement in Georgia 4-H. “Through their enthusiasm and own example, counselors like Mary Alice, Bob, Rachel, and Katherine help make that happen.”
University of Georgia Cooperative Extension faculty members based in most Georgia counties work directly with adult and teen volunteer leaders to implement the 4-H program at the local level. For more information about the Georgia 4-H Summer Camping Program, or to take advantage of other opportunities in Georgia 4-H, contact your Pickens County 4-H @ 706-253-8840, or see www.georgia4h.org/camp for more information.