Wilson's Creek Hosting Grant Winning Summer Camp

By Brett Martin | bmartin@kolr10.com

Published 06/19 2014 06:15AM

Updated 06/19 2014 07:15AM

BATTLEFIELD, Mo. -- The camp idea, Explorer Summer Quest, earned Wilson's Creek National Battlefield a grant for America's Best Idea from the National Park Foundation.

"This is one of the best preserved battlefields in the system," says Cheryl Loftin, Camp Co-Director and Park Volunteer.

At the summer camp, kids learn about the historic battlefield and the soldiers. 

"They are going to learn how children at that time, what their jobs were, how different their lives would have been in 1861 than they are today," says Mary Beth Brashears, Camp Co-Director and Park Volunteer.

Mary Beth Brashears says it a unique way to get their interest in parks.

"The whole idea is to promote the national parks because we are having it here we are going to be promoting or making sure they know about the battle here at Wilson's Creek."

During the week, campers live the life of a Civil War soldier and learn about the lifestyle during it.

"We are giving them characters today and some of them are Missouri State Guard protecting Missouri, others are from the first Iowa protecting the Union."

"They would have jobs they would not appreciate having to do and everyone would have had a job, this was a large family. All of the kids would have had a job all the way from taking care of the younger ones, to helping with the chicken, the cows, the gardening, cleaning the house, emptying the chamber pot."

During the week, they learned about the Ray family house, the original house where Union General Nathanial Lyon died.

"The Ray house that we are sitting in front of was here and used as a hospital by the Confederates."

"They lived here and they had allowed of children and they had to share rooms," says Shelby Allen, 5th grade camper.

Cheryl Loftin says its important to teach history sitting in our own backyard.

"Myself and other people in the National Parks Service all around are interested in making sure what is preserved is recognized as a sacred place."

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