Thursday, Sep 8, 2011
This summer, Great Falls Park, a unit of the George Washington Memorial Parkway, hosted 52 children ages 8 to 12 years at the park’s annual Junior Ranger day camps.
The camps were held on alternate weeks from late June to early August and led by ranger Cheryl Bresee. Campers spent two days exploring park trails, observing wildlife and playing active roles in interpretive programs, learning about the natural, cultural, and historical significance of the park.
During camp, sounds of excitement filled the air as children picked up their fishing poles and dropped their lines into the Potomac River. For many campers, this was their first experience fishing, an activity that has taken place at Great Falls since the archaic period. Rangers also incorporated principles of Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move! Outside” campaign by leading the children on a “Great Moves at Great Falls” discovery hike.
Campers also became familiar with different divisions within the National Park Service, such as United States Park Police. Park Police officers Mark Asmussen and Kris Traynor introduced their horses, demonstrated how to care, feed and groom them, and discussed the typical duties of Park Police officers. Campers then participated in an interactive program called “Flags Over Great Falls” which illuminated George Washington’s connection to the Patowmack Canal Company, and how America’s first canal system helped lead to the Constitutional Convention of 1787.
Each Junior Ranger camp concluded with a special ceremony where parents, rangers, and volunteers watched the children swear the official Great Falls Junior Ranger oath, receive special certificates and official badges, and be inducted as Great Falls Junior Rangers.