History camp focusing on life on the river

MARIETTA – The Castle’s annual weeklong summer history camp is underway and this year’s camp is not for land lovers.

“This year we’re doing River Days, so a lot of the things we’ll do will center on the rivers,” said Scott Britton, executive director of The Castle museum in Marietta.

Two dozen students got up close and personal with the river Tuesday as the camp attendees toured the Ohio River Museum, including the W.P. Snyder moored nearby.

“I like that we’re coming to different places this year,” said 8-year-old Aubrey Schenz of Belpre.

Schenz also attended the camp last year and said the students did not typically stray as far from The Castle.

Wandering through the museum, 8-year-old Morgan Caltrider of Marietta pulled his friend aside to look at large, intricate boat models.

Asked what he was most looking forward to during history week, Caltrider pointed to the museum displays and exclaimed, “This!”

The camp, which is full but is open each year to students entering third through fifth grades, will include two river-related field trips this year, said Britton. On Thursday, students will hop a boat to Blennerhassett Island, he said.

A first-timer at the camp, 10-year-old Grace Schultz of Stow, Ohio, said her cousins are Marietta residents and she found out about the camp while visiting The Castle with them earlier this year. Schultz said she is looking forward to the trip to Blennerhassett Island.

As to what the students will be doing on the island, “It’s a secret,” said Schultz.

Britton hinted the island adventure could have something to do with the project campers were scheduled to work on Tuesday afternoon.

“They’ll be getting compassing and clay and some sort of twine and making navigational necklaces,” he said.

The students will be playing directional games and building shelters there, he said.

Although she was only on day two, 9-year-old Emma Kitchen of Williamstown said the camp has already been full of hands-on activities.

“We took a tour of The Castle and back then they made things out of leather so we made leather necklaces. We had to take these stamps and hammer them down,” said Kitchen, showing off her work.

The students began working on river dioramas Monday, said Britton. Later in the week students will learn about animal furs and tracks, he said.

Touring The Castle was a highlight for 9-year-old Spencer Homer of Marietta. Spencer has always enjoyed learning about history because of his grandfather.

“He’s 97 right now and he was in World War I and World War II,” he exclaimed.

The camp, which has been running more years than Britton can recall, has been popular year after year because it is so different from a classroom setting, he said.

“It’s more hands-on. We’re always making something or this year visiting something and that’s the thing that makes it lots of fun,” Britton said.

The camp, which runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., continues through Friday.