Camp gives kids chance to learn local history
Kids could build, wear, eat and live as colonists and Yaocomaco did
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://hsmcdigshistory.org.
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.