Applications are now being accepted for the 2008 Badger Dairy Camp, June 15–17 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The Badger Dairy Camp, a cooperative effort of UW-Extension, the UW-Madison Department of Dairy Science, and the Badger Dairy Club, helps young people aged 12 to 18 develop self-confidence, sportsmanship and teamwork skills.
The camp, now celebrating its 10th anniversary, has provided more than 1,100 youth hands-on learning opportunities that focus on fitting, showmanship fundamentals and dairy judging. Campers also attend workshops on dairy nutrition, reproduction and veterinary medicine. Youth learn skills at the camp needed to be successful in their dairy project work while exploring some of the "science" in dairy science.
Group fitting of heifers with supervision by professional fitters, a showmanship competition and in-depth judging workshops give campers a jump on their upcoming dairy project activities. They'll also get great exposure to a university setting while exploring future career opportunities.
"Every year we add little twists to the program making it a little different than the previous edition of the camp, but our year-in and year-out goal is for the kids to develop their dairy skills and have a great experience at UW-Madison," says camp director Ted Halbach, UW-Madison/Extension dairy youth specialist. In the past, campers have experienced a wide variety of activities: from making ice cream at Babcock Dairy to dissecting reproductive organs of a dairy cow, and exploring - literally hands-on - a dairy cow's rumen.
In addition to Halbach, instructors include Laurie Winkelman, graduate student at Cornell University and former Ohio State University Extension Dairy Youth Specialist, Corey Geiger, associate editor at Hoard's Dairyman magazine and contest superintendent for the National 4-H Dairy Cattle Judging Contest, and emeritus UW dairy science professor Dave Dickson.
"Each of these instructors adds tremendous energy and unique insight to our team," says Halbach. "Dr. Dave, Laurie and Corey all relate extremely well with kids and can draw from their own real-world experiences. Whatever they're teaching, they've been there and done it. This gives them an immediate connection and credibility with the campers."
The $115 registration fee covers dorm, food and camper activities. Grants and private sponsorships fund about half of the actual program expense.
Apply early. Applicants are admitted on a first-come, first-served basis, the camp has been filled to capacity - 110 campers - each of the last eight years. Applications and more information about the camp are available online at www.uwex.edu/ces/dairyyouth. You can also contact Halbach directly at (608) 263-3305 or [email protected].