Kids get unplugged at Cross Orchards
No iPod, TV — not even a toaster.
The kids attending the annual Kid’s Camp at Cross Orchards are learning that some of our modern electronics are making life harder, not easier.
“Step back 100 years ago and they’re finding that some things were simpler while other things were harder,” said Kay Fiegel, assistant director for the Museum of Western Colorado.
Each year, museum staff and a host of volunteers come together to teach campers all kinds of basic pioneer skills from blacksmithing to laundry washing.
It’s all about unplugging from 2012 and learning about how children used to entertain themselves, Fiegel said.
Camp started Monday with an old-fashioned bug hunting expedition led by a volunteer from the Palisade Insectary. The kids, ranging age from 6 to 11-years-old, caught and examined as many specimens as possible. “I learned that there is a difference between a bug and an insect,” said August Promenke, 9, as he examined a number of critters he was keeping in plastic cups next to his sandwich in his lunchbox.
The week-long camp is jam packed with hands-on activities for the kids including gold panning, yo-yo demonstrations, weaving, quilting and baking, all of which use pioneer techniques from the early 1900s.
“We’re giving them a touch and feel experience which really makes for constructive learning, but fun, for the kids,” Fiegel said.
The popular camp has been taking place for over a decade. Fiegel said it is a good fit that continues the mission of education for the museum. It also serves as a way to connect with the children and capture their interest in history and their community at an early age, she said.
Many of the children return year after year, Fiegel said.
“This camp is awesome — it’s leaving such a good impression on me that I’m already looking forward to it next year,” said Kyle Hall, 12, one of the camp helpers.
The camp ends Friday with a special social for the children’s parents. “We’re making ice cream,” said Chance McAllister with excitement, “I hope it’s chocolate!”
Several spots are open for the next sessions of Kid’s Camp this summer. Cost is $99 per child which includes all supplies and two daily snacks. Session II will take place from July 9 - 13 and Session III takes place July 30 through Aug. 3. To register, call the Grand Junction Parks and Recreation Department at 254-3842.