September 27, 2023

WEST BEND, Wis. — A week-long summer camp in West Bend is immersing kids in a hands-on experience of what it is like to work on a farm. Farm Camp at Roden Echo Valley Farm is more than just fun and petting animals. The young participants are learning important life lessons that will shape their future.

It starts early in the morning when campers, like Maddie Helm, begin the daily routines like feeding the calves, gathering grain for the cows and washing out bottles. It’s through these activities that Maddie, an aspiring veterinarian, is learning about animal behavior and the dedication required to care for them.

“This has prepared me a lot and it showed me that having animals is not just all fun and petting them. You have to take care of them, you have to clean them and feed them and get the water,” said Maddie.

The camp’s founder, Jacki Moegenburg, envisioned Farm Camp as an opportunity for children to develop a genuine understanding of life on a farm. For the past ten years, the camp has been dedicated to instilling a sense of work ethic and respect for animals among its participants.

“They’ll start off with feeding the calves. Getting them a bottle of milk, they’ll empty out their bucket of water and then from there they’ve got all sorts of chores,” said Jacki.

For eleven-year-old Andrew Hull, he quickly discovered that being on the farm takes a lot of hard work.

“If you go in with high expectations, you’ll probably meet them,” said Andrew.

His tasks included feeding the animals, checking on the hens, and tackling the less glamorous chores.

It’s through these experiences that the children develop a work ethic. By the end of the camp, for Jacki, her ultimate goal is for the campers to develop a genuine understanding of agriculture’s vital role in our society.

“It just gives people an understanding of what farmers do, so that when they get to be the person buying things, they understand where their food comes from. It doesn’t just show up at a grocery store, but rather a farmer or a person had to do the work to get it there,” said Jacki.

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