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Day Camp History Lesson

Cowpens National Battlefield

National Park News

National Park Service News Release


DATE: May 9, 2012

CONTACT: Donna Phillips, (864) 461-2828

From Colony to Country: A Spring Break Day Camp

From April 2 -5, Spartanburg-area children spent their spring break learning about life during the colonial period and the American Revolution. Cowpens National Battlefield collaborated with the Spartanburg Historical Association and the Spartanburg YMCA to host a spring break camp for underprivileged 3rd and 4th graders. Funded by a Ticket to Ride grant from the National Park Foundation, the 4-day camp met the “History Lesson” goal in the National Park Service’s A Call to Action. A Call to Action will prepare the National Park Service for its 100th anniversary in 2016, and the goal of the “History Lesson” is to expand the meaning of parks to new audiences and to provide an opportunity for communities to learn more about their heritage by conducting history discovery events.

The objective of the camp was to reach children who ordinarily would not get to visit the local historic sites, teach them about 18th century life, help them discover their heritage, and promote living history.

Walnut Grove Plantation, operated by the Spartanburg Historical Association, preserves the farm of Charles Moore. The children spent the first two days there, learning about life on a colonial upcountry plantation, Native Americans, and 18th century schools. They also did hands-on activities such as writing with a quill pen and constructing a lean-to.

On day three, the camp moved to Cowpens National Battlefield, switching the focus to the American Revolution. The children spent one day learning about life as a continental soldier, with the final day focusing on the Battle of Cowpens. The camp ended with a small graduation ceremony, where the children received a certificate of completion, a tricorn hat, and a two-gun salute.

Most of the campers came from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. While it is difficult to gauge if the camp sparked an interest in history, many of the children’s parents commented on how much the children talked about the camp at home. Not only was the camp fun for the kids, but they learned a lot as well. On the first day, staff administered a pre-camp diagnostic test. The ten-question quiz dealt with basic knowledge about colonial life and the American Revolution. The pre-camp average of the group was 43.6% correct. As a post evaluation, the children took the same ten-question quiz, with much better results. The group average rose to 68.5% correct, for an increase of 59%. The post evaluation quiz also included a few open-ended questions. Through the questions, it was obvious that the children were able to connect the past with the present. One child, when asked if he would have been a patriot or a loyalist, wrote, “A patriot. I love my freedom!”

EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICATM The National Park Service cares for special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage.


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