COVINGTON - Each year, the Georgia FFA-FCCLA Center hosts Wildlife Camp and Horse Camp for several hundred youngsters.
Though the draw is usually the opportunity to spend time in nature and learn skills such as archery, hunting and horseback riding, the camps are really about much more than that, said Director Todd Teasley.
"We try to reinforce what mama and daddy are doing at home. We use wildlife as our base to get them to camp and then we teach them respect, responsibility, confidence, integrity. We try to take advantage of the opportunity to teach them character," Teasley said.
But not all parents can afford the $300 cost to send their children to camp, and that's why, each year, the FFA-FCCLA Center hosts a fundraiser to pay for camp scholarships.
The 8th Annual FFA Wildlife Camp Banquet will take place Saturday, March 3, in the old Walmart building, located at 9128 U.S. Hwy. 278 in Covington.
Doors will open at 4:30 p.m., with the banquet to get underway at 5:30 p.m.
A smoked pork chop dinner will be served and the event will include raffles and a live and silent auction of a variety of items, including more than 30 guns and autographed sports memorabilia.
There will also be activities for kids.
"It's fun for the whole family," Teasley said.
A regular admission ticket is $25, and includes a T-shirt or hat. Sponsorships ranging from $200 to $2,000 are available. Tickets are on sale through February.
Donations are also being sought for raffle and auction items, along with volunteers to help with the banquet and to assist during the camps.
To purchase a ticket or for more information, call Beverly Stahl at 770-786-6926 ext. 3 or email BStahl@GaAgEd.org.
Ticket sales, sponsorships and individual and corporate donations netted about $40,000 last year and paid for 120 kids' trips to camp, Teasley said.
Registration is currently underway for the camps, which cater to children age 10 to 16. Basic Wildlife Camp takes place June 24-29 and July 8-13, with Advanced Wildlife Camp scheduled for July 15-20. Horse Camp takes place during the same three-week time frame. Campers attend for one week.
Teasley encouraged parents to go ahead and sign up their children, as slots fill up fast.
For more information visit www.wildlifecamp.com or www.ffahorsecamp.com or call Leroy Bagley at 770-786-6926, ext. 8.