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Special Clover Camp provides new opportunities to 4-H’ers

STILLWATER, Okla. (April 5, 2018) – Where else can a 4-H’er win awards for being the best tickler, getting the best homerun, being the most energetic or the best Big Foot hunter, or even being named the 9-square champion? At Special Clovers Camp, of course.
Special Clover Camp provides new opportunities to 4-H’ers

Oklahoma 4-H’ers Kristen Chapa, Shalyn Bowles and Hadley Griffith go on a nature walk with Cleveland County 4-H’er Kerstin Soell during the second Special Clovers Camp that took place recently at Saints Grove Camp in Payne County. (Photo by Kristin Knight

For many 4-H’ers, some of their best memories, and funniest awards, came from the time they spent at camp. Unfortunately, for some club members, they have not had the same opportunities to attend camp – until now.

Back for the second time, Oklahoma 4-H’ers with special needs were able to take part in the Special Clovers Camp - Blast Off to Better Health with 4-H, which took place recently at Saints Grove Camp east of Stillwater.

Cathy Allen, 4-H curriculum coordinator at the State 4-H Office at Oklahoma State University, said the first camp was so popular, they simply had to do it again.

“Not only is this a wonderful opportunity for our 4-H’ers with special needs, this camp also is a great learning experience and yet another opportunity for our Clover Buddies to hone their leadership skills,” Allen said. “Serving as a Clover Buddy also helps our 4-H’ers develop compassion for others, patience and understanding.”

Clover Buddies are 4-H’ers who go through a selection process and then go through special training. When camp starts, the Clover Buddies are paired with a camper to assist them with all aspects of camp.

Okfuskee County 4-H’er Emma Davis, attended the first Special Clovers Camp and was excited to come back again.

“I had so much fun last time. I really wanted to come back,” Davis said. “My favorite things were painting and story time.”

Davis said she would definitely encourage other 4-H’ers to come to camp because there are lots of people to help.

“I’d tell others to come and I would be there to help them get used to it, just like the Clover Buddies did for me,” she said.

Payne County 4-H’er Mattlin Stanek was back for the second time to serve in the Clover Buddy role.

“It was a great experience last year and very rewarding,” Stanek said. “Not only are we helping the campers, but we’re also developing our own leadership skills and working as a team.”

Rebecca Harlow’s daughter, Hannah, was a camper again this year.

“By her participating in Special Clovers Camp the first time led her to being more independent,” Harlow said. “She goes to school where she’s the only student with special needs, so I think it’s important to expose her to other children with special needs. This camp is really special because the kids do all the same activities and are fully immersed in the camp experience.”

Becky Moore said this camp has been a great experience for her daughter, Rylee.

“Rylee came to the first camp and she wanted to come back again. She talked about it every week,” Moore said. “Rylee loves this camp because there’s no Mom or Dad here.”

Moore also noted she is impressed with the training received by the Clover Buddies and that, as a parent, makes her more comfortable with Rylee attending.

“This camp not only is great for the kids who attend, but also for the Clover Buddies,” Moore said. “They’re learning techniques that will help them be successful later in life.”

Also serving as a returning Clover Buddy was Mary Lee Hainzinger, an Osage County 4-H’er.

“I love this camp. The campers have such a good time and we’re trained to help make this a fun experience for them,” Hainzinger said. “I hope to come back next year as a Clover Buddy. I’ve been able to do a lot of different things in 4-H, but this camp is by far my favorite.”

While at camp, campers took part in a wide variety of activities, including painting, yoga, gardening and 9-square. The group also took a nature walk and picked up materials they turned into a nature craft project.

A big highlight was learning about many different types of insects. A representative from the Insect Zoo brought dozens of crawling critters for the campers to touch and interact with.

“One of the H’s in 4-H is health, and we not only focus on physical health, but emotional and social health, too,” Allen said. “Our goal is to make this a great experience for everyone involved and I believe we did that. The campers are already talking about coming back next year.”

Special Clovers Camp was funded with a Healthy Living grant from the Walmart Foundation and National 4-H Council.


Trisha Gedon
Agricultural Communications Services
Oklahoma State University
136 Agriculture North
Stillwater, OK  74078
405-744-3625 (phone)
405-744-5739 (fax)

Oklahoma State University - Stillwater, OK 74078