University of California
SAT, DEC 9 2023
- Author: Matthew Rodriguez
Published on: September 15, 2023
Recently I had a chance to interview John and Cindy McIntosh, long-time 4-H volunteers in Nevada county who also ran our Placer-Nevada summer camp this past year. The following are their responses to my questions.
About the McIntoshs
[Matt] How did you both meet and get connected to 4-H?
[Cindy] September 14 is our 32nd wedding anniversary. When we got married, I had a 9 year old daughter (Maranda) and a 6 year old son (Kylle). I was in 4-H as a youth but John was not. When the kids wanted to be part of an organization, 4-H seemed to fit their need. By now there were two more children, Kaytlin age 4 and J.T. age 2. Their club needed a cooking leader. Cindy had limited experience cooking for 4-H but stepped up as their leader and they all learned together. As the older ones aged out of 4-H and the younger ones were not old enough yet, there was a lapse in years of 4-H involvement. When Kaytlin was 9 and J.T. was 7, I was asked to be treasurer for the Nevada County 4-H council so I joined up again and the kids joined the Cool Hollow club.
Source of Motivation to Volunteer in 4-H
[Matt] What keeps you motivated to be a 4-H volunteer after all of these years of volunteering?
[John] The youth! They are fun to be around. After this many years, it is great to see the adults they have grown into and knowing that we might have had a hand in who they are.
4-H Summer Camp
[Matt] What is 4-H summer camp and how did you get involved in leadership?
[Cindy] In 2003, the younger two children wanted to go to summer camp so I signed them up. I then found out that J.T. was one year too young to be there without a parent so I had to go with him. I did not grow up going to camp so this was a first. The following year I looked forward to sending them and having a week off. Well, that didn't happen. I got asked to be camp cook and was told I would have a lot of help. (Remember, I was the cooking leader but learned right along with them and never cooked for a large crowed, let alone 75 to 100 campers.)
I was camp cook for the next 5 years. After that, I became the camp counselor coordinator and John became the camp facilitator. When the camp director stepped away, I took over that role also. John and I have been in these roles at 4-H camp ever since.
Impact of 4-H Camp
[Matt] What are the most important outcomes that 4-H camp provides for: 1) campers, 2) counselors, and 3) chaperones?
[John] For the youth campers, a lot of times it is their first time away from home. For some, it is the first time they have been in the woods. They make new friends that they see year after year. Youth get confidence that they can do something new.
For the teen counselors, they get confidence that they can plan and execute a plan. They also learn to handle tough situations and be quick on their feet. It is a great leadership experience. They learn how to budget time and money for their project, how to work with piers, and keep schedules. The campfires and night activities are a favorite that they all work on. Everything from the 4-H camp theme, T-shirt design, projects, campfire activities, and food is planned by them.
For the adult chaperones, 4-H has a certain amount of adult to youth ratio, which is the biggest thing that we need the chaperones for. The adult chaperones get to see the growth in the youth campers and the teen counselors. If the adult chaperones have a special talent such as cooking, crafts, archery, or running a low ropes course, they might get asked by the counselors to help out.
Getting Involved in 4-H Camp
[Matt] For those who are interested in becoming a 4-H camp chaperone, but have never done something like this before, what would you recommend?
[Cindy] We know that people have jobs and might not want to use their vacation time to volunteer at 4-H camp. That is why we ask for anytime they have. They can join us at night and stay overnight for even one or two nights. The same with the daytime. We would love to have you come and see what a great job the counselors do.
Questions About 4-H Camp?
If you have any questions about volunteering for 4-H camp or would like more information, please contact Jill Simmons, our Nevada County 4-H Community Education Specialist./h2>/h2>/h2>/h2>/h2>/h2>/h2>/h2>