Summer is here! And that means it’s time for summer camp! Living History Farms has a day camp program for kids of many ages during the summer. If you’ve come out to camp before, you know that each camp group has a camp counselor that leads kids’ groups and helps them explore our sites! But did you know that all of our camp counselors have a chief camp counselor? Christa is our Day Camp Manager or Head Camp Counselor. She plans the summer activities for all the camps, makes sure each group has what it needs, and helps the other camp counselors know how to play games, do activities, and have a good time at the museum. Christa also plans and leads many of our Spring Break Camps and Winter Break Camps. If you come out for camp, you might find Christa helping a counselor greet her campers in the morning, bringing supplies for an activity, or even leading games and play during lunch! Let’s find out more about Christa and what she thinks about camp and summer fun!
Q. Have you always lived in Des Moines?
A. I have only lived in Des Moines (and Iowa for that matter) for 3 ½ years. I was born and mostly raised in Texas. I lived in 3 major cities of Texas. I was born in Dallas, I went to school in Houston, and I went to college in Austin. I also lived in Louisiana for a few years and in Germany for one year when I was little.
Q. Have you always worked with history camps?
A. While I have worked with camps before, they have all been science camps. I’m actually a biologist. I have worked for a science club, at an aquarium, and the Houston Zoo. During the school year I would go out to schools and teach science lessons. During the summers, I would teach camp or just help out with all the behind-the-scenes camp stuff. When I moved to Des Moines there just happened to be a job opening at a history museum, and I took it. I had to learn a lot about Iowa history in a very short time.
Q. Are you crafty? Is it hard to plan all those activities?
A. I can be crafty. Some of the crafts I come up with turn out to be really cool, while others are great in my imagination, but don’t turn out as pretty as I would like. Planning camp activities can be tough, especially when there are so many camps! I try hard not to repeat activities and crafts from grade-to grade. It isn’t much fun to come back and do the same thing you did the year before.
Q. Why do you work with kids?
A. When I started college I didn’t really know what I wanted to do “when I grew up”. I just knew I really liked science. In college, I had an internship working for a science club. I really enjoyed what I did there, coming up with cool activities, and ended up staying with them for three years. I realized that I really liked teaching, but not in a classroom. I wanted to have the freedom to make learning fun, with no tests to worry about. I figured the best place to do this would be at a museum. While it can be a challenge to make every topic interesting and hands-on, I try my best to do just that. Learning should be fun!
Q. Describe what a week of camp includes.
A. Camp is a lot of fun. When you first arrive at camp, you will meet your counselor and junior counselors. Once everyone is checked in, you travel to your camp site for the day. During the day you will get to walk around and visit different parts of the museum; some are parts that a normal visitor doesn’t get to see! There will be crafts, games, face painting, dress up, skits, visits to historic sites and farm animals, cooking over an open fire, shopping in the General Store, and creek walks! We explore many topics from history, to art, to math, and science. Time flies while you are here with so many things to do.
Q. Tell us something new about the 2014 camp season.
A. Those who think they know everything about Living History Farms will be surprised to see some new changes to the museum. Not only is the 1700 Ioway Farm site moving, but we will be moving some camp sites too! This year, we welcome Sammy, who worked as a camp counselor last year, as our new Day Camp Assistant. We also have a new camp for kids entering 1st grade, called the Big Red Barn School camp. This full-day, 3-day camp takes a look at farming, from the animals and crops to home life. Campers will visit the different historical farms to see how farming changed through the centuries.
Q. What is your favorite place/site at LHF?
A. My favorite is the Flynn House. I would have enjoyed living during the Victorian time and in a grand house like the Flynn Mansion. I like the clothing that was worn then and how proper everything was. I may have thought differently if I actually had to grow up during that time period. It is fun to just pretend.
There are still openings for our 2014 Summer Day Camp. Caregivers can find more information here.