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Lorenzo offers historic twist on camp

Kathleen Emerson, right, assists a student of the Rippleton Schoolhouse Summer Camp with her basket-weaving project on Aug. 1. The day camp has run for eight years, educating children of life in the 1800s through fun activities.

Kathleen Emerson, right, assists a student of the Rippleton Schoolhouse Summer Camp with her basket-weaving project on Aug. 1. The day camp has run for eight years, educating children of life in the 1800s through fun activities. Photo by Pierce Smith.

— While some local children enjoy a week of summer camp on area lakes, or visiting faraway relatives, others choose to step back into history and visit another time period.

The Rippleton Schoolhouse Camp, which is in its eighth year of operation, is located on the grounds of the Lorenzo State Historic Site. The program ran from July 30 to Aug. 3, and allowed 14 young area residents ages 8 to 11 to travel back to the 19th century and become students of Schoolmarm Mattie Buckland. During the week, the kids participated learned about what life was like in the 1800s and participated in period arts, crafts, games and activities.

“It’s a fun time. We learn a lot, and the students are always excited to come to schoolhouse,” said Kathleen Emerson, the most recent incarnation of Buckland. “I think I was in the right place at the right for this position. I knew [former schoolmarm] Barbara Cooke, and heard there was an opening. This is a great experience, both for me and the children.”

Each day, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the historically-accurate 19th century schoolhouse, students learned academic lessons on the antique blackboard and details about life in Cazenovia more than 100-years while sitting in authentic Sears Roebuck and Company desks.

The daily routine is similar to that of present day schooling, complete with a lunch break and short recess. The curriculum included arithmetic, writing, map-reading and word puzzles, and activities included anagrams, basket weaving, flower pressing, a tour through the Lorenzo Mansion, pottery, tin punching and spool knitting, as well as creating rebuses and thaumatropes.

“The lessons and activities are all very interesting, but I think my, and the children’s, favorite thing is flying box kites at lunchtime and at recess,” Emerson said. “It’s really a sight to see.”

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