Children marched around the Hucrest Community Church parking lot while patriotic songs played in the background.
It was the final day of Patriot Camp for the nearly 70 campers and almost 30 volunteers, who had spent the week learning about American history.
“People my age were concerned with our kids not knowing history, and we thought it’d be fun to do something,” camp director Linda Middlekauff said. “We don’t just teach pristine history, we teach them about slavery and today, we had (an actor portraying) Abigail Adams tell the children about her alcoholic son.”
Guest speakers came in each day to teach the campers, students entering first through sixth grade, about the first five amendments in the Bill of Rights.
The Roseburg Beacon owner, David Jacques, talked about the first amendment, Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin about the second amendment, retired Chief Warrant Officer 4 Dawnette Loomis covered the third amendment, Roseburg Police Chief Gary Klopfenstein the fourth and Douglas County Circuit Court Judge Ann Marie Simmons the fifth.
Reenactors also came to teach history lessons about George Washington, Abigail Adams, and Lyman Beecher.
“They were real people with complex lives,” Middlekauff said.
On Friday, children recited the first five amendments from memory.
Patriot Camp was started last year to teach elementary aged students about American history.
Throughout each day of the camp, the children rotated through three learning stations: a game station, a craft/historic event station and a snack station.
“It’s really fun,” sixth grader Kylin Sherwood said. She especially liked making tie dye shirts and learning about the Civil War.
Campers also made almanacs with national songs, pledges and the Bill of Rights. At the end of the camp, each participant took home a canvas bag with books about America.
Evelyn Anderson talked about how to respect the American flag on Tuesday, such as removing your hat when you see the flag, displaying it from dawn till dusk and always making sure the blue section is on the left side.
“It’s an emblem of our country and denotes our freedom and the land we live in,” Anderson said.
After her presentation, the children put their right hand over their heart and recited the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by a march in place while they sung “Three Cheers for the Red, White and Blue.”
Hanlin then took to the stage and talked about the right to bear arms, the second amendment.
“As Sheriff, I’m responsible for making you safe, and your family safe and this whole community safe. The second amendment helps us do that,” Hanlin said, adding that weapons can be used to protect yourself but not to do bad things.
He said that although it’s the shortest amendment, it is one sentence with a lot of meaning, pointing out that although it said that it’s a right that shall not be infringed, it is one that is regularly argued.
“I took an oath, which is like a promise, to keep you safe,” Hanlin said. “One of the ways I do that it by upholding and defending the constitution and the Bill of Rights.”
He then asked the campers to rise and raise their right hand as he swore them in as Junior Deputy Sheriffs and they each received a sticker badge.
“In general it went well, but there are some things that can get better,” Middlekauff said. “I see the kids had a good time.”
Sanne Godfrey can be reached at email@example.com or 541-957-4203. Follow her on Twitter @sannegodfrey.