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4-H Clover campers get hands-on experience with animals

Seven-year-old Colby Seymour gingerly touched a pig on the nose at the Carroll County Farm Museum on Wednesday.

Colby, of Finksburg, is one of 25 children participating in 4-H Clover Camp, a day camp sponsored by the Carroll County Extension office for children ages 5 to 8. The theme for the week is "Down on the Farm."

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"I like learning all different stuff like the types of cows, sheep and goats," Colby said.

The camp gives children exposure to more farm animals and how they are raised, what they eat, and how they are used in agriculture, according to Becky Ridgeway, Carroll County Extension's 4-H educator.

Ridgeway said the campers are not yet old enough to participate in residential 4-H camps. The campers learn about different farm animals and play agriculture-themed games. During the week, campers meet a calf, goats, and sheep at the extension office and explore animals at the Farm Museum.

"We keep them busy touching the animals and playing games. They are retaining a lot more information than you think," said Amber Lippy, Carroll County Extension's student intern who helped organize the camp.

Campers followed intern Alston Shipley around the Farm Museum grounds, asking him questions about the animals' breeds and food requirements.

Ridgeway said the camp, which is in its fourth year, also provides leadership opportunities for older 4-H'ers, who act as camp counselors for the week.

"I enjoy mentoring the kids. I really enjoy helping kids have these hands-on experiences," said Danielle Franc, camp counselor and a member of the Sam's Creek and Sparks 4-H clubs.

Maggie Logan, 6, of Hampstead, said she has learned a lot this week.

"We get to see real live animals every single day and do a lot of fun arts and crafts," Maggie said.

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