Camp gives kids chance to learn lo­cal his­tory

Kids could build, wear, eat and live as colonists and Yao­co­maco did

The Enterprise - - Front Page - By JAC­QUI ATKIELSKI jatkiel­ski@somd­ Twit­ter: @Jac­quiEn­tNews

His­toric St. Mary’s City campers had the chance this week to cre­ate and play as the colonists and Yao­co­maco peo­ple did over 300 years ago.

Peter Friesen, His­toric St. Mary’s City direc­tor of education, said Tues­day seven rising fourth- and fifth-graders would ex­plore this week how both groups of peo­ple made clothes, built shel­ters and used tools to sur­vive in the area.

On Mon­day, campers were in­tro­duced to lo­cal live­stock like cows, pigs and chick­ens and also played 17th-cen­tury games like trap ball, which is sim­i­lar to tee ball. They also learned wood­work­ing skills to cre­ate a shel­ter, Friesen said.

Camper Everett Moulds, 10, said he was en­joy­ing camp, es­pe­cially mak­ing forts, on Mon­day.

Camper Abi­gail McClin­tock, 11, said she thought camp ac­tiv­i­ties were “very in­ter­ac­tive” and she planned to tell her class­mates when school is back in ses­sion that “they should try [the camp] out” be­cause staff “are re­ally nice” and there’s plenty to learn.

With su­per­vi­sion, campers on Tues­day had the chance to use fire to cre­ate a dugout ca­noe, as well as craft corn cob darts to throw through hoops hung from tree branches in the Wood­land In­dian Ham­let.

Kirsten Hank­ins, pub­lic pro­grams co­or­di­na­tor, said campers were us­ing oys­ter shells to carve the in­side of the ca­noe. She ex­plained that a small fire is lit in­side the log to cre­ate char­coal, which is “eas­ier to shape” once it was charred.

Campers who help cre­ate the dugout ca­noe are work­ing with fire, Friesen said, but they learn that “fire is dan­ger­ous but a use­ful tool.”

The chil­dren also learned more about what colonists wore and wool pro­cess­ing, specif­i­cally “card­ing, split­ting” and get­ting the ma­te­rial ready for loom­ing. They used the knowl­edge to make book­marks, he said.

Peo­ple are usu­ally sur­prised “how many steps it takes” to cre­ate cloth­ing, Friesen said, adding that “it’s a lot of work.”

Other ac­tiv­i­ties listed on the camp’s cal­en­dar in­clude dy­ing shirts us­ing lo­cal herbs and plants, tanning an­i­mal hides to cre­ate leather, and craft­ing clay beads. Campers also could make bread.

Friesen said St. Mary’s pub­lic school fourth-graders will visit the city through­out the school year be­cause their cur­ricu­lum fo­cuses on Mary­land his­tory.

“And it started here,” he said of the lo­ca­tion. Freisen said camp ac­tiv­i­ties of­fer peo­ple the chance to know about lo­cal Na- tive Amer­i­can his­tory.

Although a se­cond camp was of­fered, he said it “was can­celled due to a lack of in­ter­est.” Other ac­tiv­i­ties are sched­uled through­out the sum­mer, in­clud­ing the Lit­tle Ex­plor­ers ac­tiv­i­ties for preschool-aged chil­dren. He said “the first day is al­ready sold out and the other two are fill­ing up quickly.”

“There’s al­ways some­thing go­ing on” at His­toric St. Mary’s City, Friesen said.

For more in­for­ma­tion about events at the mu­seum, see https://hsm­cdigshis­


Kirsten Hank­ins, His­toric St. Mary’s City pub­lic pro­grams co­or­di­na­tor, left, helps campers Abi­gail McClin­tock, 11, and Everett Moulds, 10, cre­ate a dugout ca­noe Wed­nes­day at the city’s recre­ated ham­let.

Campers Bri­ley Ray, left, and Emma Lovelace cre­ate corn cob darts Tues­day with other chil­dren to throw at hoops hung in nearby trees.

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