From Harford County 4-H Clubs, Inc.:
The Harford County 4-H Camp at the Rocks is the oldest 4-H Camp in Maryland and has had a continuous Harford County 4-H Camping program for 94 years. It is also one of the oldest 4-H camps in the nation. The camp is a jewel in the crown of Harford County for its contributions to bettering the lives of local youth and the community.
The camp has changed the lives of many young people and volunteers. During the 4-H camping experience, 14-19 year olds are empowered to take on leadership skills to teach and guide younger campers. First-time campers, 8-13 year olds learn life skills that they can incorporate at home and school and to be used throughout their lives. Older campers may have learned archery and outdoor survival skills, or to simply cook over a campfire – maybe even experience their first dance. Campers throughout the years have learned to swim in the camp’s pool. All Campers learn about nature: to identify trees and plantlife, and wildlife. Many learn and undertaking crafts skills like leatherwork and basket weaving. Teamwork is the hallmark of the 4-H camping experience: many campers work together to complete the many challenges and projects at camp. All of this in the beautiful and fun environment of the camp.
In 1925, a group of volunteers invested in the youth of Harford County, formed a non-profit corporation, the Harford County 4-H Clubs, Inc..The newly formed organization purchased and operated a camp for 4-H members adjacent to what is now Rocks State Park They, and the community at that time, had a vision for the education and the future of local youth. This vision continues today as the Harford County 4-H prepares for its 91st anniversary this June. Today, a 13-member all-volunteer Board of Directors manages the 184-acre tree farm and the 4-H camp that occupies a small corner of that farm. The Board currently uses part-time employees throughout the year to assist with the operations of the camp. These employees include the camp administrator, caretaker, lifeguards, caretaker assistants, bookkeeper, and kitchen staff.
Over the years, many volunteers have helped improve the camp with many hours of labor, monetary donations and the sale of timber from the tree farm. Without these dedicated volunteers, the unique 4-H camping experience would not have succeeded for so long. Today’s volunteers are equally committed to the camp and are looking forward to continuing this legacy past the 100th anniversary camp to be held in 2024.
There is not one person to single out over the years, but the many volunteers continue to support the camp that they attended, their children attended, their grand children attended, and their great-grand children attended. There have even been several volunteers over the years that did not have a prior connection with the camp but upon seeing what the camp did for the local youth, stepped up to contribute in any way that they could.
The camp is an American Camping Association accredited facility that is used by Harford County 4-H for two weeks each year for their camping program and other 4-H events throughout the year. During the other weeks of the summer, the camp is rented to non-Harford County 4-H and other organizations for their enjoyment. Among these are the Cecil County 4-H Camp, the Harford Lacrosse Camp and the Maryland National Guard Youth Camp.
The camp is also rented to individuals and other groups and the funds raised are used to support the camp. In the past one fundraising event featured the camp opening its doors to the public to use the camp pool and to picnic in the woods on a summer afternoon, all for a nominal charge. Today, the year round buildings named “Deer Creek Overlook” and the rustic “Rocks Lodge” serve as venues for weddings and receptions, and other special gatherings. Th Board of Directors is committed to providing access to this beautiful facility and its grounds to community organizations and groups, especially those that share the common purpose of helping youth.
For additional information regarding Harford County 4-H Clubs, Inc., a non-profit, tax exempt corporation that operates the Harford County 4-H Camp at the Rocks contact them at: www.deercreekoverlook.com/4-h-camps.html Also for additional information about 4-H in Harford County contact the 4-H Office at: https://extension.umd.edu/harford-county/4-h-youth