REDWOOD Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County staff members want the north country to know that 4-H Camp Wabasso is more than just a six-week summer camp.
In fact, the agency is pushing for more programs and better availability of the 177-acre camp during the shoulder seasons of spring and fall.
Our first step is to do a better job of marketing what can be done in shoulder seasons, said Stephanie A. Graf, the extensions youth and family development program leader. Community feedback is key. We do have a camp committee, and wed be open to new membership. Creative ideas of course were open to that.
Weeklong summer programs are most popular at the camp, which can accommodate up to 130 people. Other programs, Mrs. Graf said, have dwindled over the years due to loss of funding to the camp or outside entities.
Participation in Camp Summer Days, which are one-day camping experiences for area schoolchildren, has dwindled. Camp Summer Days used to accommodate more than 800 children, but now sees about 500.
Numbers are getting smaller because school budgets are getting smaller, Mrs. Graf said. That does, however, give us more opportunity to do educational programming in June.
Military family weekends, to reform bonds, are now a thing of the past. Mrs. Graf said shed also like to resurrect those, but funding for that dried up years ago.
Id like to explore the option where theyd be self-paying customers for a family residential camp, she said.
Camp Wabasso is available to rent for the day, a weekend, or longer for various functions. Capitalizing on camp rentals and new programs, Mrs. Graf said, will help make the camp stronger.
We rented out camp 24 days this fall, she said.
Fees for camp rental are $550 per day for the whole camp or $50 per day for one cabin, among other fees for individual use of buildings. There are 13 cabins on site, a few bathroom facilities and a main lodge/dining facility, along with some other small buildings.
Matthew P. Greene, extension 4-H community educator, said camp rental is popular for family reunions, but could be used for so much more.
We have in the past, and this year too, have had middle school groups do the ropes challenge course and team-building efforts, he said. You want to have (many) programs there and people there, and when you do, dollars are coming in to keep things going.
Mrs. Graf said utilizing the lakefront to do more water-based activities such as kayaking, boating and swimming will also help attract more people to the camp. The camp also has a 4-H curriculum it can use to provide research-based programming.
Theres really no end to what we could do, she said. We could do a lot more.
While its also been a dream of hers to winterize camp, Mrs. Graf said that is not possible, due to a lack of appropriate funding. The camp receives funds mostly for general maintenance.
For more information on Camp Wabasso, call the extension office at 788-8450.