Sunday, July 14, 2024

Engaging Young Minds at Constitution Camp: A week of fun and learning in Hood County

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The Elizabeth Crockett Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution is once again gearing up for its annual Constitution Camp for Kids, an event designed to educate and inspire children aged 7 to 13 about the U.S. Constitution and American history. Peggy Purser Freeman, the driving force behind this camp, offers a glimpse into what makes this event so special and why it has become a cherished tradition in Hood County.

FROM INSPIRATION
TO REALITY

Peggy Purser Freeman, the chairman of the ECC DAR Constitution Week committee, has long been passionate about bringing history to life. Her involvement with Constitution Week and the camp stems from a personal connection to the past. “About 12 years ago, I discovered one of my ancestors donated a cow to Washington’s troops and later fought for independence in the Revolutionary War,” she shares. This discovery ignited her dedication to historical education, leading her to join the DAR and eventually create the Constitution Camp.

A LEGACY OF LEARNING

Constitution Week, celebrated annually in September, commemorates the signing of the U.S. Constitution. However, Freeman recognized a need to engage young people in this important part of American history during their summer break. With the help of Kathy Hanlon, ECC DAR honorary regent and current state historian, Freeman’s vision of a Constitution Camp for kids took shape. “Our goals for Constitution Camp are to emphasize citizens’ responsibilities for protecting and defending the Constitution and to inform young people that the Constitution is the basis for America’s great heritage and the foundation for our way of life,” Freeman explains.

A WEEK OF EXCITING
ACTIVITIES

Entering its ninth year, Constitution Camp for Kids is set for June 17-21. The week-long day camp runs from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and promises a blend of fun, learning and adventure. With the support of dedicated teen helpers and adult volunteers, the camp can host up to 80 campers.

The camp is packed with engaging activities designed to make history memorable. “We start with a few Kings, including King George III and William the Conqueror, and then each day, we invite someone who serves in government to speak — judges, soldiers, law enforcement and other elected officials,” says Freeman. This year, Sam Houston, managing editor at Hood County News, will speak to the kids about the freedom of the press.

BRINGING HISTORY TO LIFE

Children will experience historical events through interactive sessions with characters like Crispus Attucks, James Madison, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. “We teach history as we throw tea in Boston Harbor, have lemonade without sugar, meet in secret at the Liberty Tree, engage in battles with water balloons, and learn to fight as the Native Americans did in the French and Indian War,” Freeman describes. They will also hear from a Minuteman, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and women like Elizabeth Burgin, who helped hundreds of men escape from a prisoner of war ship.

The learning continues with fun and educational games. “We study the Constitution and the Bill of Rights by singing and playing games like the Three-Headed Eagle or Capture the Rights, where bully kings try to take away the amendment each student has,” Freeman notes. These activities not only teach the children about their rights but also involve water, adding an element of excitement.

A COMMUNITY EFFORT

The success of Constitution Camp is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the ECC DAR members and their families. “Constitution Camp could not happen without an amazing group of people, such as members like Donna Thompson, Jeanne Harris, Linda Clarkson and Cindy Shippley. They have all taught for seven years or more,” says Freeman. She also extends special thanks to the husbands and volunteers who have supported the camp behind the scenes.

The camp is free and nonpolitical, ensuring that it remains an inclusive and educational experience for all participants. “Most importantly, Constitution Camp is fun, free and nonpolitical,” Freeman emphasizes.

LOOKING AHEAD

As Constitution Camp for Kids prepares to open its doors once again, the excitement is palpable. With a blend of historical reenactments, interactive lessons and fun activities, this camp promises to make history come alive for the young minds of Hood County. For more information and ideas on how to celebrate the Constitution with your family, visit the camp’s webpage at https://constitutioncamp.org