WESTON , W.Va . Fifteen trained campers will leave Alpha I State 4-H Camp as certified baby sitters on Friday.
This is the second year a child care essentials course has been taught during Alpha I, a statewide 4-H camp held each July at West Virginia University Jacksons Mill State 4-H Camp near Weston.
Baby sitters, who complete the course, also have skills in CPR and general first aid. Their training is certified by the West Virginia Operation Military Kids Program.
As parents, our most valuable possession is our children,said Jeffrey Orndorff, a WVU Extension 4-H specialist.A certification from this program lets parents trust that baby sitters are trained in basic life-saving and crisis scenarios.
Orndorff reminds parents that not just anyone should be a baby sitter and suggests that parents seek trained sitters.
Alpha I campers from sixth grade through 21 years old were eligible to enroll in the certification class.
The curriculum was created from Operation Military Kids, a program started by the U.S. Army to provide successful baby sitters to help families cope with the absence of deployed parents.
Military units around the country implemented baby-sitting programs. The program grew to involve clubs and organizations, such as 4-H.
Alpha I and Alpha II State 4-H Camps are personal development summer learning programs that help young people improve their leadership and social interaction skills. Each July, more than 600 4-H members participate in the two camps.
The 4-H Youth Development Program is sponsored in every county by the WVU Extension Service, which reaches one out of every four youths in the state. This years baby-sitting students came from 12 counties.
For more information about 4-H clubs, camps and other educational activities, contact your countys office of the WVU Extension Service. Find your local office at www.ext.wvu.edu .