Hands-On History Children Study Family Folklore for Day Camp Project

By Scalf, Abby | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), August 22, 2001 | Go to article overview

Hands-On History Children Study Family Folklore for Day Camp Project


Scalf, Abby, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: AbScalf Daily Herald Staff Writer

While some kids played in the swimming pool or competed in sports at their summer day camp, a group of Libertyville area campers studied their family history.

Offered the first time at the David Adler Cultural Center, the folklore camp let kids form a closer relationship with their family and the county where they live by studying history in a fun way.

"It's very important to know your history and your culture," said Troy Anderson, the center's program director. "These kids learn about their ancestors, people of Lake County and what affect their family had on Lake County."

Led by Cindy Kerchmer of Chicago, she said the camp defined folklore by not only talking about legends, but focusing on family traditions and items that are passed down to generations.

"The family has a culture. We tell the kids to try to understand your family in that sense," she said.

One way they studied was through stories, starting with how they got their name. Their family study included a variety of projects, including creating a time line, a collection of memories such as the time they got lost.

Bringing in family heirlooms as well as family recipes also was a chance for kids to see items that families passed down to generations. Kerchmer said each item carries a story such as who gave it to them or how the items were collected.

Liza Boling, 7, of Libertyville said she brought a stamp collection her father began that he gave to her. Other items kids brought included a mother's Barbie doll truck and a grandfather's watch.

Kacey Michel, 9, Libertyville, brought a family picture taken in the 19th century. "I like sharing the traditions," she said. "I think it's neat to learn about other people's families."

Campers also had a chance to meet area musicians and artists and see and hear how the arts are passed down to generations.

Boling said she liked meeting Susan Stone, a Jewish-American storyteller who talked about her family traditions as well as religious traditions. Among the artists also were a Middle Eastern band and a Mexican-American singer.

"They grew up around a type of music and learned it. Music becomes a way to express themselves," Kerchmer said.

Also, a woman from East India talked about the country's dance traditions, showing how dances tell and story and represent religion. …

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