Patriot Camp Memories

 Patriot Camp is designed to teach children about the founding of our country in a fun camp setting.  The children meet many of our founders in costume, and learn why we signed the Declaration of Independence and fought the Revolutionary War.  They explore how the US Constitution/Bill of Rights and the free market system brought the most freedom and highest standard of living to the greatest number of persons in history.  We use the Constitutional Champions Foundation’s curriculum which includes games and crafts.  Our textbook is
 Our Constitution Rocks by 14-year-old, Juliette Turner.
Patriot Camp is going into our sixth year in Henderson County this coming summer and will be held at the HC Parks and Recreation Building in Hendersonville.  A description a typical eek of activities at Patriot Camp Follows:
How many children do you know who can enthusiastically rattle off the Bill of Rights and know the significance of each amendment? Patriot Campers can!  They also know how to wear a tri-corner hat or a mob cap with élan and how mean old King George oppressed the Colonists. He said, “No!” to everything they asked when he visited camp the first day. The campers then reenacted two tea parties.  The children got to wear war paint and toss “crates” of tea off a “boat” at a reenactment of the Boston Tea Party and enjoyed mint “tea” and shortbread at the Edenton, NC, Tea Party where they learned that the boycott of English goods put pressure on British merchants who then put pressure on Parliament.  When that did not do enough to stop taxation without representation, the children were roused to action by Patrick Henry in full Colonial Army uniform when he required that we “Give him liberty or give him death!”
On Tuesday the Battles of Lexington and Concord were fought with damp sponges as ammunition and the children marched through icy sleet (in a kiddy pool) with nothing but rags on their feet like the noble soldiers of Valley Forge on the way to the Battle of Trenton.
After the Revolutionary War was won, children costumed as a “Three Headed Eagle” taught about the checks and balances built into our Constitution.
They were also introduced to the enumerated powers in the Constitution and the balance between the States and the Federal Government and that between Liberty and Tyranny.
Wednesday brought a study of the Bill of Rights with George Washington teaching the significance of the 9th and 10th Amendments. Our Republic and Private Property were explored through and exercise of Tootsie Roll Economics. The children did exercises to earn Tootsie Rolls and then were taxed by whim rather than by law to giveTootsie Rolls to those who had not done exercises. After objections the candy was returned to those who earned it and they were asked what they would do if a classmate was unable to do pushups because of a broken arm. They decided that on the state level where accountability was likely they wanted to share.  A discussion of why we need to levy some taxes on the national level and the proper use of those taxes ensued. The roll of the states in tending to the needs of the citizens was also discussed.
The children learned about the creation of wealth on Thursday by starting their own Pizza Parlor and everyone got a Pizza the Pie. They learned about risk and reward and the role of the entrepreneur and the investor in starting businesses.
Amendments, 13, 14, 15, and 19 were pointed out as the true bringing of Liberty and Justice for all. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison discussed the intended role of the Federal Government. They compared it to a wonderful large healthy dog you have bought to guard your home who will eat more dog chow than is good for him and even put his paws up on the table and eat your lunch if you do not keep him in check. The Constitution is that dog chain.
Betsy Ross visited camp on Friday to talk about the evolution of the American Flag and what daily life was like for women in Colonial times. Elizabeth Balogh of Hendersonville described what is was like to live in a country without liberty for all and astounded the children with tales of her life in Hungary before she came to the United States as a 16-year-old girl.