The first ever Hocking Hills Liberty Camp was held August 3 – 7, 2015 on the grounds of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Logan, Ohio. The camp was for children ages 8-12, and 36 campers attended.
Each evening, we opened our camp with prayer, The Pledge of Allegiance, and the National Anthem. The backdrop for our opening was a 5 foot high by 10 foot long Wall of Founding Fathers, with some of their quotes. On Monday, campers were assigned to their groups, met their Governors (adult/teen group leaders), and received their wrist bands which corresponded to the color of their group (red, white, blue). On Tuesday, we learned about flag etiquette, and members of the Hocking Valley Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution were on hand to demonstrate how to properly fold a flag, while Jim Hiles narrated the meaning of each fold. On Wednesday, the HVCSAR Color Guard presented the colors. And on Thursday, we learned the history of the Star Spangled Banner and additional verses.
Each day of camp consisted of three learning stations, an activity, and snacks. There was a theme for each day.
Monday’s theme was “Colonial Life.” We actually started our journey all the way back in 1215 AD by learning about the Magna Carta and its impact over 500 years later on the founding of America. We then learned about Jamestown Colony, John Smith, Pocahontas, and Reverend Robert Hunt, whose skeletal remains were uncovered at Jamestown just the week before our camp! Then we learned about the Pilgrims, their life in Holland before coming to America, the Mayflower Compact, and the hardships they faced in the New World. For the activity, children ground corn between bricks and made butter. We had baskets of corn flour and corn meal that children could explore and feel the difference in texture. Our snack was cornbread and butter (of course) and lemonade. The children were given burlap coin pouches and began to earn gold coins.
Tuesday’s theme was “The Rebellion,” and we learned about events leading up to the Revolutionary War. The Boston Massacre, taxes, and the Boston Tea Party were discussed. Peter Muhlenberg told his story and the story of The Black Robe Regiment. And – King George arrived to tax the campers. Campers became the Sons of Liberty, dressed as Indians, boarded ship and threw all the tea overboard. We learned the history of oatmeal cookies, and our snack was oatmeal cookies with iced tea. We also made root beer, just as the colonists did, during snack time.
General Muhlenberg ready to lead his congregation into battle.
Wednesday’s theme was “The Revolutionary War.” Campers learned about key battles, the winters at Valley Forge and Foxy Hollow, the role of the militia and the minutemen, and about the uniforms and equipment. Presenters on Wednesday were members of the Hocking Valley Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution. Campers felt for themselves what it was like for soldiers to march through snow and ice with nothing but rags on their feet because there was no money to buy shoes. King George wandered in to one of the stations to tax campers. Our Continental soldiers didn’t take kindly to him and ran him off at the points of their bayonets, thus saving the campers from being taxed – at least for the time being. (An impromptu lesson on the Second Amendment?) We tasted the root beer we made on Tuesday, and had pretzels and root beer for our snack. We also learned the history of the Gadsden Flag.
Thursday’s theme was “The Constitution.” We learned about the Constitution and events following the Revolutionary War. Miss Liz Baker appeared to tell the story of her Patriot ancestor. Our activity was the “Tootsie Roll tax,” which taught campers the difference between redistribution of wealth and charity.
Post war United States
Friday was “Family Night,” highlighted by a potluck/picnic, learning about the Declaration of Independence, the Liberty Store, and Patriot Dodge Ball. Campers used quill pens to sign their own Declaration of Independence. We did an experiment with baking soda and vinegar to learn the meaning of “the Law of Nature and Nature’s God.”
Finally, each camper received a “Coloring Through History” coloring book from Wallbuilders, with stories by David Barton, an IOTC coloring book, an IOTC Pocket Constitution, a personalized notebook with lessons from camp, their quill pen, and their wrist band.
By Denise Whalen