FFA Center hosting summer camps, mud race

COVINGTON -- The FFA-FCCLA Center is gearing up for a busy summer.

The center will host 2,500-plus kids from FFA and FCCLA clubs all over the state during its five-week summer camp, which begins Monday, said Todd Teasley, director of development and leadership.

The students will participate in team-building, leadership and sports activities. They'll also have some good, clean fun bouncing off the The Blob, a 35-foot air mat that will send them soaring through the air into a pond on site, and, in the case of the new mud obstacle course, some dirty fun as well. About 600 students participate in camp each week. This year, students with Newton High School FCCLA, Alcovy and Eastside FFA and Veterans Middle School FCCLA will attend camp.

The facility is open year-round serving more than 20,000 campers and preparing approximately 100,000 meals annually, according to its website. But summer camp is "one of the biggest things we do," Teasley said.

The FFA-FCCLA Center is also hosting camps that are available to the general public this summer, including Basic Wildlife Camp, a week-long residential program for boys and girls, ages 10 to 15.

The purpose of the camp is to increase safety, awareness and appreciation of wildlife and outdoor sports and instill character values such as integrity, respect, responsibility and commitment.

The camp focuses on firearm and hunter safety and incorporates shooting sports, fishing, deer stand safety, primitive camping, wildlife education and conservation and outdoor cooking. Dates are June 23-28 and July 7-12 and the cost is $300 if registration is received by June 10 and $325 for late registration.

Advanced Wildlife Camp is available for ages 11 to 16 and is designed for participants who have attended the basic camp or have already received their Georgia Hunter Safety Certification. It is also a residential program and instruction includes bow hunting, firearms maintenance, outdoor cooking, bass fishing and wilderness survival. Camp dates are July 14-19 and the cost is the same as the basic camp.

Horse Camp, including personalized learning instruction, horse safety, barn management, equine grooming, basic riding and other skills, is for girls ages 10 to 13. Horse Camp takes place June 23-28, July 7-12 and July 14-19. Registration is $350 per person. Registration includes all meals, lodging, instruction and a T-shirt.

Financial assistance is available for all camps. For more information or to register online, visit www.georgiaffacamp.org, or contact Leroy Bagley at 770-786-6926, ext. 8 or at LBagley@GaAgEd.org.

Finally, registration is already taking place for the FFA-FCCLA Center's first Udder Mud Run, to be held on an approximately 4-mile, 20-element mud obstacle course. Though the event does not take place until Sept. 28, organizers want folks to go ahead and get the event on their calendars, said Bagley, the center's educational program specialist.

Staffers traveled to West Virginia to an adventure resort to get ideas on how to improve the center's obstacle course. The mud obstacle course was built last year and will be enjoyed by summer campers. It currently has about 10 elements and that will be increased to 20 by race day.

The event will include a competitive heat, with awards to the top finishers. Other heats will be self-timed. There is also a family and friends 1-mile course, for families of at least two to complete together. The first heat begins at 10 a.m. Registration is $50 for the 3-mile course until May 31 and $25 for the 1-mile course until June 30. The cost increases incrementally until race day. For more information, visit www.uddermudrun.com.

The event will be a fundraiser for improvements to facilities at the center.