For more than 90 years, 4-H Camp Timpoochee in Okaloosa County has been a cherished destination for thousands of youth in northwest Florida. This picturesque camping complex nestled on the shore of the Choctawhatchee Bay offers a fun and safe environment for campers to learn, work and play. Camp Timpoochee hosts a premier summer camp for Marine Science Education, giving campers a hands-on opportunity to learn about Florida’s marine environment above and below the waterline.
The week is full of learning, snorkeling, swimming, recreational games, and campfires. Sport fishing sessions help youth learn about local fish and ways to catch them. Specialists with the University of Florida’s Sea Grant Program and State 4-H staff lead the activities. Camp Timpoochee also has a Shooting Sports Camp, Gator Adventures and other specialty camps. In addition to its summer camps, Camp Timpoochee is open to the public year-round and can be reserved for school field trips, business meetings, retreats, family reunions and many other events. To schedule a tour or check availability, give us a call at (850) 897-2224. For summer camp information, please contact your UF/IFAS Extension Okaloosa County 4-H agent.
4-H camp counselor teaches fishing at Camp Timpoochee. UF/IFAS Photo: Josh Wickham
UF/IFAS Extension is currently implementing the VITA program, an IRS-sponsored program run by nonprofits, in Okaloosa County as well as other Florida counties to help underserved individuals and those who are at risk for abuse by unscrupulous tax preparers. This program uses volunteers who are trained by UF/IFAS Extension faculty on basic concepts of tax returns, taxes, economics, and finance and are certified by the IRS as basic tax preparers. These volunteers sit down with limited-resource community members and provide free, basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing.
The program is targeted at low- to moderate-income individuals, people with disabilities, the elderly, and limited English-speaking individuals who need help filing their returns. In-person counseling and assistance via Skype are available.
The current focus of the program is mostly in rural counties located in the Panhandle and the northeastern part of the state. Dr. Michael Gutter, Associate Dean for Extension and State Program Leader for 4-H Youth Programs, Families and Communities, hopes to expand it statewide through the use of Skype, since not all Extension offices will have in-person volunteers.
As of March 2015, IFAS Extension had already helped more than 100 people through the VITA program.
IFAS is currently redoing the website for the VITA program. The site will be available at the statewide level through the Florida Information Network, in partnership with United Way and 2-11.
Photo: UF/IFAS File Photo