We can't believe we're already over the hallway point. We have had such a fun time learning and playing with you this week!
Today we heard from James Madison who gave a great overview of the Constitutional Convention and the unique governmental organization of our republic and explained why he is called the Father of the Constitution. The kids learned that the Congress is divided into two groups- The House, and the Senate. Utah has 4 representatives in the House. Each state gets 2 Senators to represent them. We call these groups the Legislative Branch. We have two other branches of Government. The President is the head of the Executive branch, while the courts make up the Judiciary Branch. Organizing the Government this way provided checks and balances which ensured no one branch would be have too much power, and also created a separation of powers. James Madison played a major role in the creation of our constitution and later became our 4th President.
Madison's friend, Thomas Jefferson, was also a visitor today. He talked to the kids about the importance of the people having a voice. Jefferson was very insistent that our rights aren't given to us by any government or king. As he poignantly penned in the Declaration of Independence, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." He urged the kids to always remember this truth. He also pointed out that there is a difference between saying something and declaring it and encouraged the kids to declare and defend their independence throughout their lives.
Another Constitutional Convention attendee also visited us today. Benjamin Franklin gave the kids a great overview of his life. When he was young, he dreamed of working at sea. But his oldest half brother had died at sea so his parents would not allow him to follow that dream. He was, however, a great swimmer and is listed as an honorary member of the American Swimmers Hall of Fame. Although Ben dropped out of school at age 10, he was extremely educated. He loved books and gained a wealth of knowledge through reading. When he was 12 years old, he signed a 10 year contract to serve as an apprentice under his older brother James who owned a printing press. Ben loved writing and began writing poems. He would sell them on the street and people loved them. Ben wanted to write for the paper, but his brother would not publish his work. Ben was 16 years old when he created the fictional Silence Dogood, a 78 year old widow. Ben would write a total of 14 letters under this pen name. Not knowing the letters were from his younger brother Ben, James published each one in the paper. The letters were a hit and the people looked forward to each new letter eagerly. When James discovered the true identity of Silence Dogood, he was angry and beat his younger brother. Ben eventually had enough and left his apprenticeship to go to Philadelphia. Throughout his life, Ben invented many things including the grabber, the lightning rod, the first library, and the first fire and police departments.
As a fun activity, the kids got to act out the revolutionary war by forming ranks and throwing wet sponges as ammo against their foes. The kids had a blast! At the craft station, they learned about Paul revere and the lantern signal, "One if by land, two if by sea" which referred to the route of British soldiers. They made their own lanterns as a reminder. They also got to try some delicious Thomas Jefferson Sweet Potato Biscuits with honey butter during snack time. The recipe to this yummy treat is located under the resources tab on our website.
We look forward to more fun tomorrow. Just a few quick notes:
The kids have been working hard each day to learn songs that they will be performing for you this Friday. On Friday morning, we will invite all the parents to join us at 9:00 for a short program where the kids will be able to show a few things that they have learned throughout the week. After the program, there will be fun and games for the whole family. You won't want to miss it! Under the resources tab on the website, you will find a tab that says "Music." There is a playlist there with music the kids are learning. Feel free to pull up the songs and let the kids practice a bit outside of Camp. :)
Also under the resources tab, you will see a page called "Memorizations." We encourage the kids to memorize these important parts of documents and songs unique to our country. For each one they pass off to a leader, they will earn a prize. Feel free to help them at home!
I think that does it for today! Thank you so much for being a part of this with us!