4-H & Youth

Flyers to Share with Your Group

2015 4-H Summer FlyerClick here to download the
4-H Summer Camp Flyer and share Upham Woods highlights with your campers, parents, counselors and adult volunteers.

4-H Events at Upham Woods

Every year Upham Woods hosts several exciting 4-H Youth Development events including the Operation: Military Kids summer camps, Arts Camp, and the Youth As Partners in Civic Leadership Conference.

Year-Round Fun!

Summer is an action-packed and wonderful time at Upham Woods!  We have many visiting groups over the summer including the annual summer 4-H camps from over 30 counties and others such as scout groups, youth organizations and adult professional development workshops.

The winter season is also a great time to experience all that Upham Woods has to offer! Through programs like Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, and broomball, youth and adults learn engaging, lifetime winter sports that a high percentage of people stay committed to. Some outdoor activities, such as skiing, are particularly valuable to youth because youth tend to pursue, or “track” the activity through childhood and into adulthood. Outdoor, physical activities can serve a dual positive function for youth: be a tool to help combat the nation-wide obesity epidemic and a tool for positive youth development.

4-H County Summer Camp Registration Deadlines

We have established a set reservation timeline for reserving your summer camp dates for summer camp for the following year. We will continue to use this timeline each year to make the reservation process easier on you. We think Upham Woods is the safest and best youth development summer camp experience in Wisconsin and we want to do whatever we can to make it easy to hold your summer camp here.

All non-4-H County groups that are interested in visiting Upham Woods during the summer months, please contact our Program Director at uphamwoods@ces.uwex.edu to learn more about available dates for your group.

This timeline applies to 4-H County camp reservations for the following summer.

April 26, 2017: All Date Reservation Requests Received
May 26, 2017: All Contracts Distributed to 4-H Summer Groups with Approved Dates
June 26, 2017: All Signed Contracts Due back to Upham Woods with Reservation Deposits

We hope this preset schedule will add clarity and predictability to your summer camp planning process.

  • We cannot guarantee exclusive use of our facility for your dates without a $750 non-refundable facility use fee.
  • Priority date reservation process assumes full commitment upon the return of a signed contract on behalf of an organization to run a camp. Dates are assigned in the priority process to balance the requests of all counties and organizations. In the interest of serving all of our groups, Upham Woods reserves the right to combine, move, open enroll, or cancel dates to balance facility, staffing, and user demand.
  • Due to high demand for some periods of the year, it is the expectation that if a group is not going to run their camp at Upham Woods, we are notified within 90 days of receipt of a signed contract or before 60 days in advance of your arrival, whichever comes first, so that we may explore other options.

4-H Goals, Essential Elements and Foundational Topics

Youth and Upham Naturalist studying image on iPad

Engaging today’s youth with innovative educational technology

Whether through summer camp, winter camp, day programs, or themed weekends (STEM, Archery, Arts, OMK, International programs, and more), our programs meet the goals, essential elements and foundational topics of 4-H Youth Development principles. Upham Woods programming features youth leadership and life skills development opportunities that build on the 4-H goals of:

  • Competence in lifetime skills
  • Confidence in self and others
  • Connection with nature, 4-H leaders, and fellow 4-H’ers
  • Caring for the environment, themselves, their peers and leaders
  • Character for today’s experiences and tomorrow’s challenges

Upham Woods offers a safe, inclusive, and engaging environment that encourages youth development and mastery through independent and community-building outdoor learning activities.  Through exploration of the natural environment, outdoor land and water pursuits, and our low element challenge course, 4-H campers gain unforgettable experiences learning about the natural world, themselves and each other!

Residential Programs

Residential environmental education programs provide the backbone of Upham Woods. Residential programs are popular with school groups, home school groups, scouting programs, and youth groups. Programs vary in length but are typically two to five days long. Groups can choose from a wide variety of programming options and themes. Through a combination of Upham Woods staff and group leaders, environmental and outdoor education lessons are presented through experiential, hands-on activities.

Some of the programs offered at Upham Woods include:

  • Interpretive geology and history hikes on Blackhawk Island and North Shore
  • Living history with a French Voyageur or an 1850’s Wisconsin lumberjack
  • Water ecology exploration utilizing stereoscopes
  • Raptor programs with a red-tailed hawk and barred owl
  • Team building challenge course and group initiatives
  • Orienteering courses
  • Canoeing and kayaking
  • Live amphibian and reptile programs
  • Outdoor survival
  • Nordic skiing, snowshoeing and snow science in winter
  • Campfires

Fun additions to your summer camp program:

Consider adding some of these unique summer challenges to spice up your group’s stay at Upham Woods.

Critter Conservation Challenge

The Critter Conservation Critter Challenge (CCC) is a way for your whole camp to work together to follow good conservation practices and earn points by doing so. A group earns points by:

  •  Shutting off lights
  • Keeping recyclables out of the trash
  • Turning off water faucets
  • Picking up litter
  • Minimizing food waste during meals
  • Composting

A group loses points by leaving lights on/faucets running, putting recyclables in the trash, etc. The CCC is introduced during youth orientation and explained at the second meal. If the group earns enough points, they earn either a Blue ribbon award or Red ribbon award to take back to the county, and get to put a “feather” with their county name on the display board in the Dining Hall.

 

Stump the Naturalist

Stump the Naturalist is when campers submit questions (within guidelines) to the tree “stump” in the dining hall for the naturalists to answer. If the naturalists can’t answer correctly, they get “stumped” and the camper gets a tree cookie to take home.

These are all optional activities to include in your camp schedule. We recommend choosing your favorite two activities above!


Groups have the choice to stay in rustic cabins or a dormitory. Family style food service is available to groups comprised of 20 or more participants.

Guests utilizing Upham Woods for day or residential programs have a wide variety of environmental and outdoor education and recreation courses to choose from. Take a look at the full list of program offerings here.

If your group is interested in visiting Upham Woods, please contact us. We will be happy to discuss visitation options and to help plan your visit. We can be reached at 608-254-6461 or via email at uphamwoods@ces.uwex.edu.

To schedule a program, first visit the Upham Woods Calendar to identify available open dates. Once dates are found, please fill out an online application to reserve dates. You will receive an email confirmation of your reservation acceptance. A deposit of $100 per night ($50/day visit) is required within 10 days to hold reservation date(s).

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