OREGONIA — After spending three days at Camp Kern, Smith Middle School’s fourth graders are ready to go back.
“We loved seeing all of the interesting and fun things at camp,” said Karisa Ticknor and Christen Madden.
They attribute much of the success of the trip to the amazing high school students that joined them. The fourth grade students and staff are very thankful for the sponsors that helped pay for scholarships, banners, and t-shirts. Those sponsors include VISIONS, Optimist, Vandalia VFW, Lions Club, the Vandalia Butler Foundation and Lewis and Michael Atlas Van Lines.
The camp had many fun activities for students to try, like going to Fort Ancient Memorial Center. It was a six-mile hike that was very, very tiring, but also fun because students got to slip in the mud as they climbed up and down the hills to Fort Ancient. Back at camp, there was canoeing, pioneer cooking, survival training, scavenger hunts, wildlife exploration, basketball and Gaga Ball to play.
Many kids enjoyed the historical trail called Living History. The Camp Kern Staff dressed up like people from the 1800s. There was a medicine woman, a grave digger, a very strict teacher, a frontiersman, and a settler.
“It was very scary when we went to the school house, because you had to sit up straight and keep your knees together. Two kids had to put a block of wood between their knees, and if they dropped it, they got “whipped,’” reports one fourth grader. There were also other punishments back then which students no longer experience. For instance, children use to have to hold a sign that said “Chatter Box,” or they might have to stand up and hold books.
During the camping trip, the fourth graders played a game where every kid in every cabin had to bring ten things. Students worked together with their cabin group to form a team. If anyone on the team had the item the camp staff called, that team got a point. There was another game called Human Clue. It was a life size game of clue that required teams to really work together. There was also a hoedown where fourth graders got to show their dance skills.
When it was time to go, everyone was sad, but also glad to go home.