By Megan Nichole Broome
Kids sit restlessly on the wooden benches of the New Echota Council House, eagerly raising their hands to show Camp Coordinator Maria DeArmoun their pride in knowing answers to questions about the historic Cherokee Capital located in Calhoun.
Having Fun with Visual Learning
Camp Anthony began in 2005 as a way for kids to learn while also having fun, DeArmoun explained. Campers experience history firsthand and become exposed to different cultures, she added.
By going on exciting field trips like the TELLUS Museum, hiking up Lavender Mountain at Berry College, exploring the caverns at Raccoon Mountain and visiting New Echota, campers have a blast while learning and having adventures.
Each week’s highlighted field trip teaches them something new and different, explained 23-year-old counselor Danielle Williams. The counselors and campers all learn something new, she added.
At New Echota, campers learned a lot of new and interesting facts, such as that the phrase “sleep tight” stems from mattresses made by the Cherokee from linen and rope.
In order to help gain an understanding of how the structure of the Cherokee Capital Court System works, DeArmoun compared it to our local court system to emphasize its small size and multiple functions.
DeArmoun described Camp Anthony as a “structured, active camp,” and that is no surprise with a fun-filled schedule of swimming, basketball, soccer, crafting and playing on the playground.
Camper Marlon Kimnebre, age 9, said his favorite part of Camp Anthony is going hiking at Berry College because he likes to exercise, while 6-year-old Addison Tate enjoys crafting because she loves to make things.
In order to keep kids energized to enjoy all the fun, breakfast, lunch and a snack are generously provided daily by the Federal Food Program.
Building an Appreciation
Kids can be unaware of how difficult conditions were for early peoples because of the abundance of machine-made materials in factories today and immediate gratification, explained DeArmoun. She described to campers the rigorous process the Cherokee and settlers had to go through to cook food, garden and build materials out of wood. She noted, “we have it easy, don’t we?”
Williams, who has been a counselor for three years, emphasized the importance of teaching this material to Camp Anthony kids by explaining that these important events are taught in school, but here they are “actually being exposed to it.” Instead of simply seeing it in a history book, they can see it for themselves, she added.
A paramount example of how far along technology has come is demonstrated with the Printing Press at New Echota. The manual way of creating the Cherokee Phoenix is a great way to show campers how far along the process of creating print materials has come throughout the years.
Park Ranger David Gomez explained to campers at Camp Anthony that similar to a keyboard, news publishers memorized where letters were located in the dresser in order to place them on the printing press in an adequate amount of time. Capital letters were stored in the top case, coining the term “uppercase,” while small letters were stored in the “lowercase.”
Camp Anthony Promotes Activeness
With all these learning opportunities and adventures for kids to experience, Camp Anthony is a fun event for campers to participate in while gaining knowledge and appreciation for different cultures.
Campers expressed their excitement with fun activities throughout the camp.
Camper Cameron Henson, age 10, likes to swim because “every day is hot and you can cool off,” and Trace Harris, age 11, likes dodgeball because “you can hit people with balls.”
DeArmoun expressed her gratitude in the personal satisfaction Camp Anthony has afforded her.
“I felt like I was sent here,” she said, and the attentiveness, dedication and hard work she devotes to the campers at Camp Anthony only proves this point.
There are still three more weeks of fun-filled activities in store for campers at Camp Anthony.