Campers as Elachee Pioneers

Campers literally got a taste of pioneer life, exploring how children of yore lived. 

Camp Elachee Week 2: Elachee Pioneers

“We had an awesome group of campers for Pioneer week,” shares Counselor Kristen. “They had such great attitudes and were quite vocal in sharing how much fun they were having – to the extent several campers begged to stay and not go home.”

Campers got a taste of pioneer life, literally! Naturalist Norma Rainwater treated campers to the always popular Lessons from the Cherokee Elachee school program that explores the culture, contributions and history of north Georgia’s most influential Native American tribe. What’s interesting is that of the 70+ campers here this week, only three had ever participated in this field trip through their schools.

Elachee Nature Science Center gave campers a taste of pioneer life at Camp Elachee's week 2 summer day camp.Contests and scavenger hunts are always a big hit at Camp Elachee. Throughout the week, campers searched the Chicopee Woods playing Elachee’s version of the Oregon Trail game along the Dodd Trail. Using flash cards for reference, they had to identify plants that would offer different benefits to their way of life and/or survival – whether for food, shelter, medicinal purposes, play or recognizing those that would cause bodily harm. Of course, teams earned points toward their golden hub cap and golden pine cone contest!

Campers also got to experience food products transforming into different properties. So parents, what’s the best way to churn butter? Fast and furiously, as campers discovered when in a race to see whose efforts would first yield this creamy goodness. These young Elachee pioneers also made soy ice cream in a bag, then ate it!

The Middle School campers even had archery training one day, then a second day of shooting targets. This helped them grasp the concept of food sourcing by hunting in the wild. One young man learned that he could shoot a bow and arrow better left-handed than right-handed – a big surprise to him! They also visited the Northeast Georgia History Museum and were given one-on-one, interactive demonstrations of how pioneers performed daily tasks around the homestead. Elachee Nature Science Center's summer day camp, Camp Elachee 2017

Camp Elachee promotes creative discovery. To gain a perspective ways pioneer children entertained themselves, campers made toys these children would have played with, including corn husk dolls and dream catchers. They also had a blast playing games such as Blind Man’s Bluff (in essence, Marco Polo on land).

Another advantage of camp in a nature preserve is that you never know what surprises Mother Nature will deliver. A number of Elementary age campers happened upon an Eastern Box Turtle digging out an earthen nest and watched as she laid eggs! This allowed one of the counselors to provide an impromptu nature less on turtles including identifying boys versus girls by eye color, discussing about laying eggs and if the parent turtle stays with the babies after hatching. Camp Elachee participants happened upon an Eastern Box Turtle building a nest to lay her eggs.

In fact these campers were so concerned other hikers (or fellow campers) would accidently step on the nest, they made a ‘fort’ surrounding the nest’s perimeter to direct foot traffic around the nest.

For upcoming Camp Elachee themed weekly day camp schedules by age group, please click here.