History and loyalty: Boys' camp teaches youths Christian character and life in Colonial times

Monday, August 6, 2007

What do you get when you mix tomahawks, muskets and about 40 young boys? Life lessons on the thoughts of our forefathers, according to John Casebolt, director for the Cape Baptist Association Boys' Camp at Peaceful Valley, just north of Perryville, Mo.

The camp is a week-long evangelistic outreach camp that has a different theme every year. Its theme this year was America's Godly Heritage. Counselors have been teaching 37 third- through sixth-graders about George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

"This year's theme ties what our forefathers thought about God and how that shaped what our country has become," Casebolt said.

The boys have been learning about Colonial life. The Ste. Genevieve Militia re-enactment group came down Thursday to show the boys how to throw tomahawks and demonstrate musket shooting.

On another day, the boys shot air cannons to knock down cardboard British Redcoats, each adorned with a different fault such as anger, lying or disloyalty.

"They were trying to knock out bad character traits," Casebolt said.

As part of the camp, the boys attended history class each day.

"They told the history teacher that he was the best history teacher they had ever had," Casebolt said. "They're actually listening."

The camp has been educating and entertaining children since 1952, said Margaret Morgan, administrative assistant at Cape Baptist Association. There are three one-week camps during the summer: one for youth seventh- through 12th-grade, one for boys third- through sixth-grade and one for girls of the same age.

"This is something that they look forward to year after year," Morgan said. She said several children come from smaller ministries who may not go on trips very often.

Casebolt said knowing more about the Continental Army and the militias would teach the boys loyalty and perseverance.

"They knew that if they stuck together they could achieve goals and that they're not alone out there," he said.

charris@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 246

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