Dozens of SW Region 4-Hers get L.O.S.T. on the Bayou

(09/01/2022) LAFAYETTE, La. — Do not panic! No 4-H'ers were harmed, or misplaced, during the inaugural LSU AgCenter Southwest Region’s L.O.S.T. on the Bayou Camp held on Aug. 2.

More than 80 4-H'ers, who hailed from Cameron to Lafourche parishes, participated in engaging activities in Louisiana Outdoors, Science and Technology (L.O.S.T.) upon their convergence at Acadian Village.

Southwest Region coordinator Lanette Hebert said the L.O.S.T. Camp was the successor to the statewide L.O.S.T. Camp previously held at Camp Grant Walker in Pollock, Louisiana. That program fell victim to a tumultuous 2020 hurricane season and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As a region, we really thought this audience — seventh and eighth graders — needed some programming, so we decided to do our own version of L.O.S.T. Camp,” Hebert said.

Hebert said the planning process for this camp began last September when a planning committee was named to begin choosing the curriculum. A group of volunteers, agents and youth helped to plan the day’s events.

Sponsors for the program included the Louisiana Youth Wetlands Program, the Louisiana Beef Council, and a Walmart Grant for Healthy Living.

The participants were kept engaged with educational tracks including animal science, food and nutrition, outdoor skills and technology. The afternoon sessions included water management, arts and crafts, more outdoor skills and service projects. Hebert said the curriculum is staying true to the 4-H THIVE model.

“This is our S.E.T.-based (science, engineering and technology) programming which we know the school systems are focusing on as well as it is one of our largest project areas,” Hebert said. “It’s reinforcing what they are learning in schools. A lot of hands-on lessons and experiences.”

Assisting with the animal science track was state 4-H office instructor Hannah Devall. She was leading the participants in a workshop on how to safely grill homemade hamburgers. Devall, a former 4-H member from St. Martin Parish, said the goal of her presentation was to teach the campers to be more confident in using nutritious, affordable Louisiana beef products to make a sustaining meal. She said offering this lesson hearkened back to her days as a 4-H'er.

“It’s really special to work as a specialist in the project area that I have the most passion for and have the most experience with and always have been drawn to,” Devall said. “It’s been great working in agriculture and animal science.”

Devall said the new grilling program will include future lessons for grilling Louisiana-sourced steaks, pork and poultry, as well. She said the success of the program is measured in how many participants felt comfortable manning a grill at home.

“I asked every group that,” Devall said. “The majority of them said they would feel comfortable making burgers for dinner tomorrow night.”

The youth and volunteers participated in service projects that were led by the Acadian Village staff during the afternoon session. These landscaping and clean-up activities not only gave an opportunity for the L.O.S.T. Camp to give back to its host facility, but it also helped to cover some of the costs of using the cultural center as the site for the event.

“It’s a perfect location,” Hebert said. “It’s a beautiful cultural experience as well as having some environmental components we can focus on.”

Some of those environmental components included a small lake that the campers used to learn water testing skills.

Morgan Meaux, a 12th grader at Kaplan High School, is serving as the 2021 4-H State Executive Committee president. She was in attendance, along with other executive committee members, to help host activities, aid in on-site logistics and make sure all the campers were engaged and having fun.

“We needed to do something for this age group of kids because they missed out on 4-H Summer Camp,” Meaux said. “They were going to miss out on Challenge Camp and L.O.S.T. Camp if we didn’t step in.”

L.O.S.T. Camp counselor Kendall Goodwin, from Calcasieu Parish, said Mother Nature deprived her of her Challenge Camp and L.O.S.T. Camp experiences in her middle school years. So, when she was asked to serve as a counselor for this year’s event, she looked forward to the opportunity. She says the Southwest Region L.O.S.T. Camp is perfect for this age group of campers and is perfectly timed.

“They are going into high school and it’s good to come here and make friends,” Goodwin said. “They get to come here and learn life lessons like cooking burgers or taking water samples or learning about gluten in our food.”

Grilling with Hannah.

State 4-H office instructor Hannah Devall leads a group of youth in the proper, safe methods of grilling hamburgers at the Southwest Region’s L.O.S.T. on the Bayou Camp held in Lafayette on Aug. 2. This portion of the curriculum was part of the animal science educational track. Photo by Derek Albert/ LSU AgCenter

Water Testing.

Vermilion Parish 4-H agent Natalie McElyea instructs L.O.S.T. on the Bayou campers in a water testing course. The event, held at Lafayette’s Acadian Village on Aug. 2, hosted more than 80 campers who participated in a variety of courses during the day. Photo by Derek Albert/LSU AgCenter

Group Campers.

More than 80 campers from Cameron to Lafourche Parishes participated in SW Region L.O.S.T. Camp held at Lafayette's Acadian Village on Aug. 2. Photo by Derek Albert/LSU AgCenter

Adult Volunteers.

Adult volunteers from all across the SW Region assisted in presentations and workshops at teh SW Region L.O.S.T. Camp held in Lafayette on Aug. 2.

Video Production.

A group of seventh and eighth grade 4-Hers work together to create a short video during the Southwest Region’s L.O.S.T on the Bayou Camp held at Lafayette’s Acadian Village on Aug. 2. This lesson was part of the program’s technology track. Photo by Derek Albert/LSU AgCenter

9/7/2022 4:48:41 PM
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