University News

WIU's Camp Rocky Program Returns with Full Experience

May 22, 2023

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MACOMB, IL – The annual Camp Rocky program, designed and led by Western Illinois University students, was held April 28-29 at WIU's Horn Field Campus.

Students from WIU's Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration's Camp Leadership course designed a unique camp experience using the skills gained in the class to lead the program with 45 children from the area community.

"We were so happy to bring the full camp experience back for the local youth," said RPTA Assistant Professor Megan Owens. "The students did a great job planning and leading the day and overnight camps. The last three years, the Camp Rocky program was modified based on pandemic restrictions, but the focus on providing a meaningful camp experience for youth remained the focus. Everyone was just thrilled to have both camp experiences available this year."

The 2023 Camp Rocky program was designed to enhance personal growth by connecting youth with role models and new activities in a nature-based environment. Youth in first to eighth grades participated in a variety of activities. The program began with the older youth arriving for the overnight camp, which a campfire cookout and night-time, glow-in-the-dark involved a serious game of nine-square, team-building activities, scavenger hunt. More campers arrived the following morning for the day camp, and experienced the climbing tower, hiking, group games, making s'mores and much more.

Each year, the RPTA students build a unique camp through their Camp Leadership course.

"There isn't fieldwork in this course, the course is fieldwork," said one WIU student. "We apply what we learn right away."

The course objective is to enhance students' understanding of the process to designing a safe, positive and enjoyable camp experience for youth. The campers loved their new t-shirts and ending the experience with s'mores and stating they can't wait until next year's event.

For more information on WIU's RPTA program, visit

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