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Camp teaches kids farming fun

July 13, 2000

Camp teaches kids farming fun



By KERRI SACCHET / Staff Writer

Photo: KEVIN G. GILBERT / staff photographer

Marcus AllnuttSHARPSBURG - Standing on the bench of a picnic table, the camp leader asked wide-eyed youngsters if they like pizza. Picking up an oregano plant, she explained Wednesday that the herb is used to flavor pizza.

Sandy Scott, horticulture consultant for the Maryland Cooperative Extension Service, works as one of the Farm Fun Day Camp's leaders.

Andrew Lowery, 8, who attends the camp, which runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, said he chose the "pizza tasting" herb for the personal herb gardens the group made.

"I like pretty much everything about the camp," Lowery said. "I think I like the bugs. We get to catch and keep them in cages."

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The herb garden is only one of the many activities the camp offers to children ranging in age from 7 to 11, said the camp's director, Lori Taylor.

"By the end of the week we hope we exposed campers to all the different aspects of agriculture," Taylor said.

Farm Fun Day Camp is held at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center off Sharpsburg Pike. It is put together by a committee that works all year to plan the events, Taylor said.

"We like to have activities where things work together, such as having the children milk cows, and then they turn around and they make their own butter," Taylor said.

Running through alfalfa fields with butterfly nets, milking cows and goats and learning how to plant potatoes and carrots are things the youngsters get to experience each day, Taylor said.

"We have five program areas: Plant science, livestock, crops, foods and nutrition and natural resources," Taylor said.

The children got to pet chickens Monday. On Wednesday, a llama and horse were on hand for the livestock portion of the day, Taylor said.

Many of the camp's teenage volunteers and adult leaders grew up on a farm or are members of the 4-H Club, but most of the kids at Farm Fun Day are from a town, Taylor said.

The number of children attending the camp has grown in the three years since it was started. This year, it is at maximum capacity with 71 youngsters, Taylor said.

Beth Hoffman, a camp leader, said the campers are given wooden boxes with wire netting in which to keep the bugs they catch.

"See this is a good bug here, it eats other bugs that are damaging crops," Hoffman told the children as she pointed to a red striped bug.

Nicole Miller, 10, said she returned to the camp this year after attending the program last year.

"I had a lot of fun and my mom decided it would give me something to do instead of being bored at home," Miller said, "I had so many friends here that I wanted to come back."

The camp runs from July 10 to 14 and costs $60 per child and $50 for each additional child in a family.

Taylor said a bus picks up children at Hagerstown Church of the Brethren and drops them off at the end of the day for parents who need the service.

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