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4-H Memorial Camp in Monticello earns spot on Newsweek’s America’s Best Summer Camps 2024

4-H campers enjoy water activities in row boat

MONTICELLO, Ill. — 4-H Memorial Camp in Monticello has recently been included in Newsweek's list of America's Best Summer Camps 2024, earning a full 5-star rating. This recognition is especially meaningful as the camp celebrates its 75th anniversary this summer, marking decades of dedication to providing unique and transformative outdoor experiences for youth.

Newsweek, in collaboration with data researcher Plant-A Insights Group, evaluated over 15,000 camps across the nation. The selection was based on a comprehensive survey of 30,000 parents and nearly 700,000 social media reviews, assessing criteria such as activity offerings, accessibility, staff-to-child ratios, and safety. 4-H Memorial Camp stood out among 300 overnight camps for its exceptional quality and impact.

"We are proud to celebrate the excellence of 4-H Memorial Camp and their staff in this achievement," said Kevin Carey, University of Illinois Extension acting 4-H Director and senior program lead. "Youth and families have continued to see the value in camp experiences and opportunities to create new friendships and learning through their day-to-day activities. 4-H Memorial Camp uplifts how youth can thrive and succeed in their passions and interests. The camp staff, including counselors and staff who provide critical services to the space, deserve to feel they have made a difference, and this recognition demonstrates the quality and care they bring to each camper."

4-H Memorial Camp, dedicated to Illinois 4-H Members who lost their lives in WWII, has been a cornerstone of the Monticello community, offering diverse programs that promote outdoor education, leadership, and personal growth. This milestone year underscores the camp’s enduring commitment to nurturing the potential of youth through nature-based learning and adventure.

"4-H Memorial Camp has proudly provided unique outdoor learning experiences to thousands of youth and adults yearly for over 75 years," said Andy Davis, 4-H Memorial Camp director. "Having the work of our employees and volunteers recognized by Newsweek is an honor as we prepare for our 75-year celebration and look forward to the next 75 years as we continue to increase the number of individuals we serve and the programs we offer.

As the camp gears up for the anniversary celebration this summer, it remains committed to its mission of fostering an environment where youth can disconnect from the digital world and engage deeply with nature and each other. The recognition from Newsweek serves as a testament to the camp’s impact and the dedication of its staff and volunteers.

For more information about 4-H Memorial Camp and its programs, please visit the 4-H Memorial Camp website.

About Illinois 4-H: Illinois 4-H is the flagship youth development program of University of Illinois Extension and administered through the College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. 4-H grows true leaders, youth who are empowered for life today and prepared for a career tomorrow. The hands-on approach in 4-H gives young people guidance, tools, and encouragement and then puts them in the driver’s seat to make great things happen. Independent research confirms the unparalleled impact of the 4-H experience, demonstrating that young people are four times more likely to contribute to their communities, two times more likely to make healthier choices, two times more likely to be civically active, and two times more likely to participate in STEM programs.

SOURCE:  Andy Davis, 4-H Camp director,

WRITER: Carissa Nelson, media communications manager, 4-H State Office,

About Extension

Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities. Illinois Extension is part of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.