Summer Camp ~ History in the Making

When I think of summer camp, visions of team sports, horseback riding, swimming, and muddy clothes fill my mind with bad memories, but today there are as many varieties of summer camp as there are flavors of ice-cream.

Last year, my son’s history teacher sent us a letter saying she’d like to pay for my son to attend history camp at a historical site in our town.  How sweet is that?  Of course I said yes with thanks.  That camp impressed me so much that I determined to send both my children this year.

The camp is only one week long, but my kids were able to make woolen pot holders, marble paper and make journals, write with quill pens, basket weave, craft Indian corn dolls, weave rope, and turn flax into long strands of hair.  Well, they used it as hair and I must say, it definitely has the texture and feel of hair, at least my hair hair on humid summer day.

They also learned many valuable lessons about early American history.

General Herkimer's Home

They hauled water from the springhouse, built a fire and cooked a stew for lunch.  From scratch…they actually went to the garden and picked potatoes and vegetables for their soup.  They learned how to weave fabric, how food was grown and preserved, and how the pioneer children lived.  They even marched the kids in military drills.

On Monday morning each of the children were given an outfit to wear for the week.  The girls wore long cotton skirts, an apron, and a bonnet.  The boys had a loose-fitting, very thin, linen shirt and a hat.  All the kids used haversacks to store the items they made.

On Friday night all the parent’s gathered for closing ceremonies.  The little pioneers played a song on a their penny whistles and awards were given for outstanding achievement.

I really appreciate that they singled children out for specific accomplishments.  Today awards and rewards mean so little, because often all children are awarded for participation and not necessarily achievement.  I think awards for achievement help motivate kids to do better.

FringeKid won the Historian Award.  One of the two highest achievements.

Every day last week temperatures soared between 97 and 100 degrees.  My children were able to experience true-to-life days of the pioneers.  I’m sure it’s an experience they won’t soon forget.

How about you?  Did you go to camp when you were a child?  Have you sent your kids to camp?

Tell us about your/their experience.


  1. says

    This is awesome! So much better than making bead bracelets and running through obstacle courses!! And to have a historian in the making–you’d better be careful the family stories you tell! :-)

  2. says

    That camp sounds amazing! We used to go to YMCA camp when we were younger. I liked it. I got “best girl athlete”. My husband says it must have been a handicapped camp.

  3. says

    What a fun sounding camp. I only went to Swim Camp when I was a kid, which I recall was exhausting. Sarah is in Day Camp right now, and learning to ride horses. She seems to be having a blast. Maybe next summer she’ll do overnight camp, but our lives in the summer feel like overnight camp anyway (I say as I type from the cabin which is my temporary summer home).

  4. says

    What a cool camp! I never went to summer camp. My sisters went one year and when I heard about initiations, I decided I was more civilized than that. Plus, camping is so not my thing. But I think I would go to this historical camp–I’m jealous! : )

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