FARMINGTON -- Once the whistle blew, the miniature marshmallows began flying.
As part of the 4-H Survivor Camp, teams of close to 15 members armed with marshmallow guns made from PVC pipe squared off in a game of capture the flag Wednesday at the Davis County Fairgrounds. However, not all of the small, white bullets were used for ammunition.
"I've eaten a lot of them," said 9-year-old Olivia Hodges. "That's why I barely have any left."
Olivia, and her 7-year-old sister, Hailey, were among the 60-plus kids on hand to learn survival skills. The marshmallow war was just one of the activities the kids participated in during the second day of the three-day camp. Also Wednesday, the youngsters participated in archery and first aid. They also enjoyed Dutch oven enchiladas for lunch.
The camp started Tuesday with eighth- through 12th-graders only. Campers got to shoot air rifles and paintball guns Tuesday night and now have become youth leaders for the rest of the camp, which ended Thursday at Mueller Park in Bountiful.
"We do what I call tricking the kids into learning," said Rachel Rudd, the camp director and 4-H agent for Davis County.
That was evident as the first- through seventh-graders joined the camp Wednesday.
After the campers built their marshmallow guns out of PVC pipe by either following directions for an easily-assembled gun or inventing one of their own, Rudd gave them a lesson on air pressure. She explained how pressure makes the marshmallows fly out of the gun.
Later in the day, the group learned first aid while dealing with each other's fake wounds.
"We try to follow the 4-H philosophy, which is hands-on learning by doing," Rudd said.
4-H, which stands for Head, Heart, Hands and Health, is the nation's largest youth development organization. More than six million 4-H youths participate in the program.
Each state runs its 4-H program through the state's agriculture university, and Utah's 4-H program is run through Utah State University.
April Danyluk, the military 4-H Club coordinator, said the program is very beneficial for the kids, especially those from military families.
"It gives them a sense of community," Danyluk said. "No matter where they move, they can find 4-H."
Danyluk said about 75 percent of the 4-H kids at this survival camp come from military families.
Olivia and Hailey Hodges live at Hill Air Force Base and have been looking forward to participating in the survival camp ever since their older brother, Ben, attended last year.
"I like getting to meet new friends," Hailey said. "But some kids I already know from my street."
Nathan Tramposh, 31, of Kaysville, was at the camp Wednesday to watch his sister, Bethany, 13, and brother, Joey, 12, at the camp.
"It's beneficial for the kids to learn skills and communicate with each other," Tramposh said. "They learn how to work together."
The camp wraps up today with more hands-on activities, including campfire cooking and learning about edible plants and insects.