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Summer Camp at Virginia House

07/20/2010

My first attempt at making a column

Visitors to Virginia House often comment that this eclectic house museum and its expansive gardens must be a wonderful place to work, and they’re right. If we’re not involved in collections work with artifacts, furniture, and paintings spanning several centuries and originating from all over the world, we’re working in our offices with a gorgeous view of the gardens outside. The past week, however, has been exceptionally fun, because we’ve been preparing for our three summer camps.

Victory!

For the first of the three, Jr. Ambassador Passport Travels (July 26–30), students will “visit” five countries in which Mr. Alexander Weddell (former owner and builder of Virginia House) served during his years of diplomatic service: Italy, India, Argentina, Greece, and Mexico. Students will discover the language, culture, religion, music, and geography of each country as well as help make national culinary dishes and complete traditional craft projects. The hard work that went into planning this camp was perforated with hours of fun that included musing over photographs of Greek beaches and Indian temples, learning to make pasta from scratch, listening to mariachi music, and creating samples of various crafts. I spent the better part of a day attempting to create a Greek column out of plaster. My first effort resulted in a failure, mimicking the destruction of Santorini, but perseverance led to success by the end of the day.

Go Green participants on a garden tour

Our second camp, cosponsored by Agecroft Hall, is Go Green (August 2–6). During this week, students will learn about recycling, composting, native plants, and eco-friendly choices they can make in their daily lives. Last year, students spent hours creating elaborate artworks out of recyclable materials, which they showcased at an end-of-camp party hosted for their families. This year, students will instead write and star in skits investigating ecological issues, using recyclables to create props and musical instruments.

Our final camp, also cosponsored by Agecroft Hall, is Diggin’ in the Dirt (August 9–14), which returns for its seventh year. During the week, students will examine the effects of weather on plants, the composition of soil, plant a victory garden, and make garden-themed crafts. In addition to preparing a space in our gardens for the students to plant and planning an extensive garden tour, we have been scouring craft catalogs for materials and testing projects. Planning and scheduling five days of diggin’ fun gave us the chance to think like kids for a few days, which was a welcome break from the rewarding but meticulous collections work that had occupied the majority of our time this summer.

Weather predicting at Diggin' in the Dirt

For more information on the summer camps at Virginia House, please visit our web site.

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