Julie McCarthy - Guest Blogger: Camp Programs Director
Once you get the camp “bug” you never really get rid of it. Being outside with fresh air and the bright summer sun, having new adventures every day, feeling free to try new things and hanging out with friends, there’s just no better place to be in the summer than camp
! From my very first day of camp, when my parents dropped me off and I was already in the water playing with new friends as they were still waving good bye, to my current job at Conner Prairie as the camp director, I have been involved with camps. As I have gone through the ranks of camp; camper, counselor, counselor in training manager, program director and camp director, I have experienced and seen all of the wonderful benefits camp has for children.
Camp is a place that kids can experience new things, many of which they would not experience anywhere else. Things like learning how to shoot an arrow and hit the target, how to hold the paddle so they can maneuver their way down the river in a canoe, how to work as a team while the group works through the challenge course, learning how to bait a hook and catch a fish and even how to start a fire and cook a delicious batch of jumbles! There is so much to do at summer camp. Kids are outside getting fresh air and gaining self confidence as they conquer each new challenge. They are learning while they are having fun and they don’t even seem to mind that there are no cell phones, TV’s or video games in sight! At camp, it’s ok to get dirty and wet and explore the outdoors.
Camp is also a place where new friendships and wonderful memories are made. It is amazing to me to watch a group of kids, who don’t know each other on the first day, talking and asking each other questions, anxiously getting to know each other. On the last day of camp, they are hugging and exchanging phone numbers and addresses because they have had such an awesome experience at camp together.
Camp is a place where kids are free to be themselves, a place where kids will have great adventures and make memories for a lifetime! I know I still remember my first summer adventure! I got the “bug” and love it!
Looking for a great camp experience this summer? Registration is open for summer camps at Conner Prairie
“Won’t I/she/he get hot?” is a frequently heard question when a new Youth Volunteer
comes to me to discuss reproduction historic clothing, and the answer is “Yes, but this is how people dressed back then.”
On February 11, our Youth Experience Coordinator, Sarah Morin, called the 30 youth who were added to our Youth Volunteer program for 2011, joining 70 or so returning boys and girls. Not all Youth Volunteers take on a first-person, reproduction-historic-clothing-wearing role, but that’s what drew many of them to the program in the first place, and sometime in March or April, they’ll show up for an appointment in Historic Clothing.
We start with the basics: “This is how you would have dressed in 1836 or 1816.” (Youth will have to wait and see if there will be “first person” roles in 1863 for them.) Many of them are surprised at the different layers that were worn, especially by girls, but I assure them that “they” wore even more.
Boys have to have a shirt, waistcoat (optional for 1816), neckerchief and trousers, and girls have a petticoat, dress, apron, and daycap. They all have to wear hats or bonnets outside, long stockings and shoes that look right for the time period, even though their 1816 and 1836 counterparts may have gone barefoot all summer.
All of them get to choose from our selection of as-accurate-as-possible fabrics. It’s always interesting watching to see if the accompanying adult guides or tries to guide the youth’s choices. After that, girls have to choose their dress, apron and daycap style, while the boys are ready to pay and hit the road. Finally, laden with fabric, patterns, instructions and notions (including rope for the girl’s corded petticoats), they head out, followed by parents who may be dreading or anticipating sewing for their youth or hurrying home to call down the “approved sewist” list to find someone to do it for them. “Don’t forget to pre-shrink your fabric,” I call. “Good sewing!”
When the outfit has been approved for sewing accuracy and is modeled for fitting approval, it’s all worth it. Anna, Sarah, Jake or Sam “is approved to work in Prairietown or Lenapehoeking