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Kids build ‘Wild West’ for camp | RatChatter

Kids build ‘Wild West’ for camp

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Sep 7, 2013 in Rat News | Subscribe

An athletic field became a cardboard version of a Wild West town
last week, and children taking part in the Boys Girls Club of
Corvallis Summer Day Camp did the pioneering.

In an activity that combined lessons about pioneer culture with
commerce, campers (with a little help from adults) built two sites
on Friday for gold prospecting, a malt shop, a barber shop, a bank,
a doctor’s office and a bakery.

“There’s so much role-playing going on,” said Monica Schuerkamp,
assistant director of academic enrichment programs for the Boys
Girls Club. “They’re learning through play and learning
through doing.”

Campers designed and built the structures for “Tombstone” using
what they’d learned during the week, she said. For the most part,
the town reflected the young campers’ imaginations. They decided
what to build, how much everything should cost and even which laws
should apply and how they should be enforced.

“(It’s) the sense of cooperative play, of working together,” said
Sandy Nored, the director of the enrichment programs.

Entrepreneurship thrived in the appliance-box walls of the

Some toiled in the hot sun digging for “gold” in the long-jump pit
or fishing it out of a kiddie wading pool.

Rachel Lane, 11, opened a business offering rental of snakes.
Plastic snakes.

“It’s really fun to get your own shop,” she said. And who knows
when you might need a plastic snake?

Kylee O’Neill, 12, made $1 each time someone wanted to hold one of
her pet rats. “It’s a lot of money,” she said. “People like holding

Across town, “Dr.” Michael Gallagher, 8, set up shop offering $1
vaccinations, $2 check-ups and $3 surgeries. Unfortunately for Dr.
Michael, nobody was feeling poorly.

“I haven’t had one sale yet,” he complained, while waiting for the
“train” back to his office. (The town “train line” was an
interconnecting system of chalk tracks traversed by a little red
wagon pulled by townsfolk.)

Other parts of town were bustling.

Campers could churn butter at the bakery, build and sell kites at
the toy store and make candles. Some waited in line for a cold,
fresh malted ice cream.

Operating their various enterprises taught the camp participants
how to budget money, design a successful business and count money.
They learned about opening a bank account and depositing earnings
in the bank. Prospectors exchanged any panned “gold” they found for

“This is fun, and it teaches kids about saving and spending their
money wisely,” said camper Ricky Carson, 11.

That was the idea.

“We want them to have an awareness and appreciation of the Wild
West culture and to have fun,” Nored said.

Summer Day Camp continues from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Friday.
Both full and half-day camp options are offered. For more
information, see the Boys Girls Club of Corvallis’ website at
www.bgccorval lis.org or call 541-757-1909.

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