Saturday, 26 July 2014

Raiden Goes back in Time

My daughter JulieAnne works and is always finding fun camps for her son Raiden to go to during the summer months when school is closed. He has gone to day camps at the University of Calgary, the Science Center, SAIT and the Calgary Zoo.

Why am I telling you this on a genealogy blog? Raiden had to write something at school about his ancestors, and when I told him his ancestor Guillaume Couillard came to Canada over 300 years ago he became very interested in his family history. So his mother thought he would enjoy this camp...

Last week Raiden's camp was at Heritage Park, a historic village in Calgary. He did the overnight "Home on the Range" option, Monday to Friday, and he loved it! The kids dress and live like they are in pioneer days - no electronics! They sleep in an old barn-turned-bunk house. At the camp Raiden was given to wear 2 pairs of overalls, 2 dress shirts and a cap.  The girls were given dresses, a pinafore and a bonnet. They had to wear brown or black leather shoes or boots that were lace-up. Raiden and his fellow campers, uh settlers, did chores in the morning. Raiden picked up horse poop and collected eggs, and he said the best was herding the ducks. He also worked in the gardens and learned a bit about cultivation.  

There were crafts for the kids, where they learned skills of their ancestors, like blacksmithing (Raiden made a bottle opener - see horse's head at right?),

and leather works (he made a bookmark stamped with his initials). 

At night they could wear their own clothes, and got to see parts of the park closed to the pubic. They attended campfires, and even had a barn dance for which the kids were given dance cards they had to fill out. This is from Raiden's mother...

"They also wrote/ practiced small plays which they performed for the parents on Friday afternoon, in the Canmore Opera house.  Raiden wasn't interested in that at all, until he received a letter from the ghost of Sam Livingston (first settler in Calgary) who said that he was excited to see Raiden's play.  It has long been rumored that his ghost watched performances at the old Opera House at the Park (his original house is there as well).  Raiden was very excited to receive the letter and it is now one of his most prized possessions."

Raiden had such a good time, he told his mother he wants to go back again next year! JulieAnne and I think there should be one for adults!  I always thought I should have lived in the pioneer days.

These are a couple of other heritage parks I have visited that hold summer camp for kids:

Drummondille, Québec at the Village Québécois d'Antan.

Morrisburg, Ontario - Upper Canada Village

Perhaps there is one near you!


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