Reidsville 4-H hosts summer camp for children of NC Guard families

North Carolina National Guard
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Robert Jordan

Date: 06.29.2013
Posted: 06.29.2013 22:23
News ID: 109535
NC Guard Kids have fun at summer camp

REIDSVILLE, N.C. – “A leap of faith,” was an accurate description for the dilemma in which Anthony Hudgins Jr., the son of Army Staff Sgt. Anthony Hudgins, found himself. He stood atop a 30-foot telephone pole and the only way down, without the benefit of gravity, was a trapeze just out of reach.<br /> <br /> The phrase also describes what 51 of his newest friends did at the North Carolina National Guard Youth Camp at the Betsy-Jeff Penn 4-H Educational Center June 23-28.<br /> <br /> “I am not sure what was shaking more, me or the pole,” said Anthony Hudgins Jr.<br /> <br /> He met the challenge with a mix of fun and fear.<br /> <br /> Similar drama replayed over the camp’s 200-acres of hills, fields, forests, streams and lake. <br /> <br /> Campers tested their skill and discipline with archery, horseback riding, canoeing, climbing wall and ropes course, arts and crafts, environmental education, athletics and team building.<br /> <br /> “Our (NCNG) child and youth programs are the best kept secret in the Guard,” said Alice Dean, state youth coordinator.<br /> <br /> The camp was free of charge for children of North Carolina National Guard soldiers and airmen. The first-come, first-served registration was held statewide for all families of Guard members. <br /> <br /> "Camp for my three children and a niece was way out of reach,” said Army Staff Sgt. Danielle Cotton, a training noncommissioned officer with the headquarters of the 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team, headquartered in Clinton, N.C.<br /> <br /> Cotton further explained that financially, she feared she wouldn’t have the ability to send all of the children to camp at once. <br /> <br /> This was so much of a concern that she thought she might have to decide how many of the children would be able to attend? <br /> <br /> The fact that the camp was free really took a burden off of her shoulders.<br /> <br /> Destiny Morell, daughter of Army Staff Sgt. Michael Lanasa, met her challenges too. She balanced herself precariously across a narrow log about 40-feet off the ground tied and secured between two trees.<br /> <br /> “I thought I was gonna fall, many, many times but I made a goal of making it all the way,” said Destiny. <br /> <br /> Not every event requires ropes, cables, a helmet and a strong tolerance for heights. <br /> <br /> “Every kid finds something they really enjoy,” said the camp’s summer program director, Stacy Burns. <br /> <br /> The camp’s events are not just recreation but growth.<br /> <br /> “It allows children to develop confidence and leadership,” said Burns.<br /> <br /> All good things come to an end and after quite a week, it was time to go home. Children carrying sleeping bags, clothes, and everything else you need for a week from home shuffled into the recreation hall.<br /> <br /> The children’s luggage lined the walls as they darted back and forth with pens in hand to sign each others’ camp tee shirts. Hugs, handshakes, laughter and a few tears marked the parting of new friends as parents arrived.<br /> <br /> “It felt like home,” said Anthony Hudgins Jr.