ORONO — Whether it’s kayaking down a river, backpacking through the forest or high-adventure-style racing, military family teens with a thirst for adventure will have a greater number of options this summer thanks to an expanded federal summer camps program run by the country’s university cooperative extension system.
The U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Agriculture, the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and extension offices at 11 other land-grant universities have teamed up to offer military teens low-cost, high-adventure camps at 50 locations, including one in Alaska and two in Europe, as well as in Maine.
The USDA, land-grant universities and the cooperative extension system will work with communities to offer the camps. Military teens ages 14 to 18 may pick their adventure — from a five-day kayaking trip through Washington’s San Juan Islands to a four-day adventure-racing course in the Northeast to a one-week backpacking trip through Alaska’s Denali Forest.
The DoD and USDA, through the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, has awarded 12 grants for the program, which expands and broadens existing summer camp opportunities for military family children that has been administered in Maine and other states by cooperative extension offices for about five years, according to Jon Prichard of the extension office in Springvale. Prichard and Extension Director John Rebar in Orono said at least 272 Maine youths will benefit. Nationally, the combined 12 projects approved by the NFIA will make camp opportunities available for more than 2,800 youth.
The Maine Military Adventure Camps will be held at Extension’s 4-H Camp and Learning Centers at Bryant Pond and Tanglewood-Blueberry Cove in Lincolnville.
The Cooperative Extension website for Maine 4-H Camp and Learning Centers http://extension.umaine.edu/programs/military-adventure-camps]http://extension.umaine.edu/programs/military-adventure-camps has additional information.