"Explore Wyoming:" youth camp with a purpose

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Brandon Valle
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs
Warren's Arts and Crafts Center and the base Youth Center teamed up Aug. 12-16 to host a day-camp called "Explore Wyoming," a program to teach children the history of Wyoming and its transformation from a territory to a state.

"The purpose of the camp is to help the kids understand the different cultures throughout the history of Wyoming," said Pam Kolsrud, camp leader and Arts and Crafts Center employee. "Each day is a unique experience for the children."

The five-day camp is split into two groups each day. A morning camp hosted from 9 to 11 for children ages 5 to 7, while the afternoon class was 1 to 3 for children ages 8 to 12.

"The Arts and Crafts Center does a good job at designing age appropriate crafts for each class," said Hannah Cooper, Child and Youth Programs Assistant and music, art, and theater teacher at the Youth Center here.

Each day of the week is devoted to a unique aspect of the history of Wyoming.
"[We] teach Wyoming's History to the children," Cooper said. "From dinosaurs to Indians to settlers, it's a fun way to incorporate history into the lives of the kids."

Aug. 13 was geared toward the history of the Native Indians who were settled in the area. The two tribes who settled in the local area were the Shoshone and the Arapaho tribes, said Kolsrud.

Artifacts were brought in from the Wyoming State Museum in Cheyenne, Wyo. The artifacts ranged from simple articles of deer skin clothing to hand-crafted porcupine-needle bracelets. The children were able to see and feel the historic artifacts, in an effort to help them understand the culture of the native tribes.

C. M. Wendelboe, a published author who specializes in writing about Native Americans, was a guest speaker who was able to go into detail about the relationships of the two tribes who settled here.

"Even after all this time, the resentment between the Arapaho and the Shoshone is still around," Wendelboe said. "You can see its evidence in the separation of schools; each tribe still has their own private schools that only allow that tribe to attend."

Each day concludes with an arts and crafts project. Aug. 13 ended with the kids creating their very own "deer skin" shields. The children took paper plates and attached leather strips, feathers, beads, and various designs to create their own unique shield.

"Most of the children are new and just coming into the area," Kolsrud said. "I think it's important for the children to learn about the history of the area they are living in and to discover the road the area took in becoming the state that it is now."