Summer Fun at 4-H Camp

Mississippi woman recalls a hilarious canoe incident during some summer fun at a 4-H camp.

| July/August 2012

  • Canoes
    Teenage girls couldn’t wait to take a canoe out on the lake at 4-H camp.
    Mark Herreid/Fotolia

  • Canoes

Back in the 1930s, I didn’t know what a “country bumpkin” was, let alone that I was one. If not for the 4-H program, I probably wouldn’t have left the county until I went off to college.

I belonged to two organizations: the church and the 4-H club. All church activities were local, but 4-H activities meant fun and travel, especially during the summer. There were three 4-H events we looked forward to: Congress at Mississippi State, the Mid-South Fair in Laurel, and 4-H camp at one of the state parks.

Infamous camping trip

When I think about summer fun, a particular camping escapade comes to mind.

Each 4-H member paid a few dollars to participate in a three-day camping adventure at a state park near Meridian, Mississippi. The money covered our transportation, lodging and food.

A school bus was loaded with 4-H’ers from all over our county. The bus trip was fun, but arriving at our destination was awesome. There was a huge lake with canoes lined up along the shore. My cousin, Maurine, and I, along with our brothers, had explored every pond, lake, creek and river in our area. We had never paddled a canoe, though, and we were anxious to try it. That very afternoon, we got our chance. Many of the campers lived in town and were hesitant of the canoes and the lake. Maurine and I, however, were tomboys.

Canoeing at 4-H camp

We hopped in a canoe and rowed to the middle of the lake where the water was deep. Once we got the hang of maneuvering it, we loved that canoe. We thought it might be fun to tip it over, so we stood up and rocked it until it overturned. That was a lot of fun for us – but not for the onlookers on the distant shore. Soon we heard yelling and saw two lifeguards racing toward us.

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