ZOPFI - The Herald-Dispatch
HUNTINGTON - After eight hours on a plane and several more spent unpacking his things, Jonas Gunnarsson finally could experience American 4-H camp.
Gunnarsson, a sixth-grader from Norway who arrived in the country alongside his father and cousin, discovered the Cabell County 4-H camp online while looking up information on LEGO robots. This summer, the local 4-H camp is offering "RoboLab" computer program instruction to the 4-H campers.
On Thursday, the last day of camp, a handful of campers spent their afternoon tweaking plastic wire and typing last minute commands into the computer.
"With the program, we can build paths for our robots to go through," Gunnarsson said. "Sometimes it takes a while for the robot to work right. You just have to keep putting the information in."
Gunnarsson worked closely with his cousin and father to build a pathway maze for his special robot. He said coming to the United States for camp is similar to his homeland camp experience in many ways.
He said the kids in Cabell County's camp love soccer just as much as he does. He also said he enjoyed sleeping in comfortable beds rather than the tents required at camp in Norway.
Nila Cobb, extension agent for 4-H and youth in Cabell County, said the experience is two-fold for Gunnarsson and the other 4-H participants.
"Anytime we can show children that we are all alike and at the same time different in so many ways, it is a good thing," Cobb said. "Jonas'; father was in 4-H as a child, and now he is sharing that experience with his son right here in West Virginia."
For sixth-grader Nikki Romine, sharing her week with the Gunnarssons was an exciting learning experience.
"I have learned so much about their country," Romine said. "We played a game where we asked questions about Norway and learned who their king was and how they use currency.
"I was interested to know they also do the FIRST LEGO League there."