NEWBERRY — Newberry youth embraced multiculturalism and learned about American history recently at the Newberry County YMCA thanks to a partnership with the Hollingsworth Outdoor Center.
The center brought its camp on the road to the Newberry YMCA. The camp usually takes place on a 55-acre site in Simpsonville.
The event split into project stations and some of the activities drew from the 1800s, such as manual labor being used for candle making and brick making.
Some of the bricks made were constructed of clay from land on which the Newberry YMCA sits, which Newberry YMCA Executive Director Eric Nelson said made the history lesson more impactful.
The center is on the site of a former plantation and the brick making is a way to get youth in touch with the difficult jobs laborers and slave laborers performed in those times in hot July heat.
“We provide hands-on, age-appropriate experiences and share historical stories, such as stories about bricks and how slaves and field hands made these bricks,” masonry instructor Greg McKee said.
Camp staffer William Cummings, a rising freshman at Vanderbilt University, said he loved to give back to the camp and impact youth of a variety of ages and backgrounds.
The Newberry YMCA camp activity was for children age 4 through fifth graders.
The day-long event was part of the YMCA summer camp programming and included candle making, archery, making ice cream in a bag, basketball, orienting via compass, crafting and swimming.
“It’s great to get kids outside and involved in history,” Cummings said.
Greg McKee has a long standing relationship with Nelson and they were excited to strengthen that partnership with the Newberry YMCA.
One of the draws to the plantation, circa 1823, is it manor house and set of outbuildings, including an artesian well.
Though some of the activities on site, like broom making or woodworking with pioneer tools, did not travel well, the youth got a feel for the center’s purpose and mission through the activities they could partake in while on site at Newberry.
Children rotated among stations to do age appropriate activities. Many said their favorite activities were the brick making, the archery and making ice cream.
The YMCA offers a variety of summer programs such as this one for the children. For more information about the activities and ways to become involved, visit www.newberryymca.org.