The Sustainable You! Summer Camp is an annual camp that is put on by the Ventura County 4-H Program and the City of Ventura each year in July. Usually, it is held at the University of California Hansen Agriculture Research and Extension Center (UC HAREC) in Santa Paula. This year, due to the Stay-At-Home Mandate brought on by the COVID-19 Pandemic, the camp was held virtually via Zoom. We were the two Teen Helpers for the event. Here is what we did on each day:
DAY 1 - MONDAY, JULY 20TH
The theme of the first day of camp was Air Day. The campers answered questions to start off the day after a short icebreaker led by Ashley, otherwise referred to as journal questions. The kids then discussed their answers and viewpoints. They then learned about our atmosphere. I recall one section, where the kids learned about the sections of the atmosphere. The first layer, the Troposphere, stopping roughly ten miles above ground, is where the weather forms. It holds the layers upon layers of clouds that bring storms of rain, ice, and thunder. Planes fly in the Lower Stratosphere, the second layer, it is near thirty-one miles at it's highest. The Stratosphere holds the Ozone Layer; which blocks UV Rays. The Mesosphere, the third layer, at its tallest point is 42 miles above the earth's surface -average. The Mesosphere protects the earth from objects in space-meteors and asteroids. The Thermosphere is 446 miles above, it absorbs more of the Sun's UV Rays and X-Ray Radiation. The Exosphere is the final layer of all, about 311 miles above the ground.
DAY 2 - TUESDAY, JULY 21ST
The theme of the second day of camp was Land Day. The day started with another icebreaker led by Ashley and the journaling questions. Then, the campers learned how to better take care of the land around them, and we watched a video about a waste processing plant that is located right here in Ventura. After that, the participants were given an assignment to bring back and share the next day. The instructions for the activity was to head for a walk outside after camp and find as many objects that are on land as possible. The campers were then going to share their results the following day.
DAY 3 - WEDNESDAY, JULY 22ND
The theme of the third day of camp was Food Day. The day started with another icebreaker activity led by Ashley and the daily journaling questions. After that, the campers shared their results from the Hunt & Find Activity from the previous day. The campers then watched some educational videos to help them learn how to preserve food, along with how to keep food clean (which is an essential skill during the times of the Coronavirus). Some of the ideas campers learned on this day included what the different types of food are, where their food comes from, what kind of packaging their food comes in, and how to calculate food miles. The campers really seemed to enjoy this day's activity, as Food Day proved to be their favorite day of camp.
DAY 4 - THURSDAY, JULY 23RD
The theme of the fourth day of camp was Energy Day. The day started with another icebreaker activity led by Ashley and the daily journaling questions. After the campers got their lesson on energy, they got to play a fun game called ENERGY BINGO. Some of the terms related to energy that campers learn included: oil, natural gas, oil shale, tar sands, coal, nuclear, wood, municipal solid waste, biofuel/biodiesel, solar, hydroelectric, tidal, wave, wind, and geothermal. This proved to be a very enjoyable activity, as it got quite competitive among the campers!
DAY 5 - FRIDAY, JULY 24TH
The theme of the fifth and final day of camp was Water Day. The day started with another icebreaker activity led by Ashley and the daily journaling questions. Although the mood of the day was a bit sad since it was the last day of camp, everyone was still excited for the activities that were about to take place, and for everyone to have fun together one last time. The campers watched some videos on how to keep the water around them clean. Then, we watched a live experiment demonstrated by Ms. Stephanie Terry. She showed us how differently paper products (toilet paper, flushable wipes, tissues, and paper towels) dissolve into water. From this activity, campers learned that only toilet paper should be flushed down the toilet.
Although the camp wasn't the same as being held in person, the camp still proved to be very educational and enjoyable in the new virtual format. It is with high hopes that the Sustainable You! Summer Camp can be held back at the Santa Paula UC HAREC next July, but if we are still under these uncertain times, there will most definitely be a virtual camp. If you participated in this year's pilot virtual camp, thank you for participating, and we hope to see you next year, virtual or in-person!