Jackson Graham, 14, of Argyle Troop 76, Scouts BSA, tries his hand using an atlatl, a spear-throwing device that has been around for millennia, during the recent Cabin Fever Reliever held at the Brewer Auditoirum. Max LaPointe (left) of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, looks on. Credit: Pete Warner / BDN

There was a little something for everyone at the recent Cabin Fever Reliever put on by the Penobscot Fly Fishers at the Brewer Auditorium.

There were numerous fishing exhibits and other booths to entertain adults, but the big attraction for children was the opportunity to go up on the stage and shoot a bow and arrow or throw an atlatl.

That activity, manned by Max LaPointe, was part of an exhibit sponsored by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s 4-H division.

“4-H is currently the No. 1 youth organization in the United States,” said Eri Martin, program coordinator for the 4-H Camp and Learning Center at Greenland Point. “4-H actually has more people involved in it than even Scouts.”

The focus at Greenland Point, one of four learning centers run by the Cooperative Extension along with Tanglewood, Blueberry Cove and Bryant Pond, is teaching lifelong outdoors skills. They include programs that specialize in fishing, camping, hunter safety, nature, woodcraft, archery and conservation.

Greenland Point, which operates at Long Lake in the Down East town of Princeton, will again this summer welcome campers ages 7-15 to participate in its myriad offerings.

“These are skills that if we don’t continue to teach them to the next generation, they’re going to start dying out,” Martin said.

There also is a Warden Camp that will give campers a close look at the job performed by Maine Game Wardens.

“They’re not going to find a passion for it unless they’re exposed to it and actually get that hands-on experience,” said Martin, who as a young person was active in Scouts. “We think that’s so important today.”

All funding for the Cooperative Extension 4-H camps comes from the funds provided by registration fees.

In some areas of the state, the summer camps also are complemented by school-based outdoor education programs.

The various camps at Greenland Point are spread across four weeks during the summer. Some are offered more than once, while the Warden and Hooked on Bass camps are limited to single sessions.

“Our Hooked on Bass Camp, they’re basically on the water from the time that the sun comes up to the time the sun goes down” Martin said, explaining that the program features a multi-day fishing tournament.

The naturalist programs teach participants about exploring the outdoors, capturing critters and learning about habitat.

“Building that greater appreciation and stewardship for the earth that they live on is really our primary purpose,” Martin said.

At the Cabin Fever Reliever, children were able to shoot a bow and arrow at a close-range target and also had the chance to throw an atlatl, a spear-throwing lever that has been used by various cultures for millennia.

LaPointe wound up going head to head with some determined kids who seemingly couldn’t get enough of the activity.

The takeaway from the Cooperative Extension’s presence at the Cabin Fever Reliever is that there are some fantastic opportunities available for Maine youth during the upcoming summer.

The cost of the Greenland Point camps is $610 for each six-day session. Some scholarship money is available.

For more information on 4-H Camp and Learning Center at Greenland Point, call 207-665-2068 or send an email to extension.greenlandpoint@maine.edu.

Pete Warner

Pete graduated from Bangor High School in 1980 and earned a B.S. in Journalism (Advertising) from the University of Maine in 1986. He grew up fishing at his family's camp on Sebago Lake but didn't take...