Camps

4-H Emblem

Nebraska 4-H Youth Development offers a variety of day and overnight camps, which provide unique experiences that focus on life skills, including:

  • science exploration
  • leadership and citizenship skills
  • future career opportunities
  • healthy decision-making
  • natural resources education

Nebraska 4-H Summer Camps are offered at two 4-H Camp Centers: Eastern Nebraska 4-H Center near Gretna and Nebraska State 4-H Camp near Halsey. A variety of both day and overnight camps are available to youth ages 5-18. Each location offers a variety of themed camps, such as robotics, creativity, animal care, outdoor skills, and more! Each location also offers team building and challenge courses, shooting sports, aquatics, GPS, and more! Scholarships are available.

Big Red Summer Academic Camps are residential, career exploration camps held at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Big Red Camps are open to all youth in grades 10th-12th including recent high school graduates. Participants have the opportunity to explore the UNL campus, meet people from across the country, spend time investigating an interest or potential career, and have fun! During the week-long camps, youth work with UNL faculty to explore the topic of their particular camps, like filmmaking or crop science. Scholarships are available.

Many counties across the state offer local 4-H camps. For more information about 4-H camp opportunities in your community, please contact your local Extension office.

Purpose

The purpose of 4-H camps, including summer camps and Big Red Summer Academic Camps, is to provide unique educational opportunities that empower youth to be active in the pursuit of self-improvement in a safe, inclusive, and fun environment. The Nebraska 4-H camps offer all youth a place to discover, learn and grow while developing valuable leadership and citizenship skills.

Big Red Summer Academic Camps also provide youth an opportunity to explore the University of Nebraska–Lincoln campus, collaborate with faculty in academic departments, as well as, experience potential careers within their field of interest.

Membership

Nebraska 4-H summer camps offer residential (overnight) programs for youth ages 8-18 years old, as well as day camp opportunities for younger youth ages 5-8 years old. Youth do not need to be an enrolled 4-H member to attend a 4-H summer camp.

Big Red Academic Camps are open for all youth who have completed 9th grade through completion of 12th grade. Youth do not need to be an enrolled 4-H member to attend a Big Red Summer Academic Camp.

Structure

Nebraska 4-H offers a variety of 4-H summer camp experiences.

  • Day Camps: Ages 5-8; an opportunity for youth to experience camp while learning to communicate, work as part of a team, and build relationships. Day camps also give parents a chance to participate as chaperones. 
  • Explorers: Ages 8-11, generally experience a shorter stay while participating in many 4-H camp activities and traditions. The explorer camps focus on increasing self-esteem, fostering a lover for the outdoors and aids in the development of social skills. Building lasting relationships, fostering friendships, and positive adult interactions are key elements of camp as we strive that each camper leaves with a lifetime of positive memories!
  • Discovery: Ages 11-15; generally, experience more advanced adventures while fostering confidence, responsibility, and healthy conflict resolution while experiencing authentic leadership opportunities.
  • Counselors: Ages 15-18; an opportunity for older youth who are leaders and role models among their peers. Counselors are an integral part of the camp program, assisting in the day-to-day development of the campers through leadership, mentoring and their general love for camp.

Big Red Academic Camps are coordinated by Nebraska 4-H staff who connect with UNL faculty to provide an opportunity for higher education and career exploration while spending a week on campus meeting peers from across the country and learning in state of the art facilities.

Quality Standards

A high-quality 4-H camping program:

  • uses experiential learning (learning by doing) as a primary teaching approach.
  • provides opportunities to explore the natural world in a safe and inclusive environment.
  • includes planned opportunities to learn and apply life skills such as leadership, citizenship, community service, and encourages healthy risk taking.
  • provides programs, curricula, and procedures that are based in research and are developmentally appropriate.
  • fosters youth-adult partnerships that encourage active involvement and participation by youth and adults.
  • collaborate with Nebraska 4-H and UNL faculty and staff to provide premier learning opportunities.
  • is American Camp Association (ACA) accredited and undergoes a review of over 300 standards related to operations, staffing, emergency management, and program planning.
  • employees & staff that are CPR and First Aid certified.