Patriot Camp ended with a parade, led by Boy Scout Troop 46 and the first three presidents of the United States, through the Hucrest Community Church parking lot.
All campers, first through sixth graders, wore red-white-and-blue tie dye shirts while marching to classic American marching songs such as “Yankee Doodle” and “You’re a Grand Old Flag.”
Boy Scouts carried the flag at the head of the parade. They were led by a group of campers who carried a “Patriot Camp 2020” sign with handprints, along with George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.
This year’s camp built on the experience of the previous two years.
When the camp started in 2018, campers learned to recite the preamble to the U.S. Constitution. Last year, they were taught about the first five amendments to the Constitution and this year they learned the last five amendments in the Bill of Rights.
Adhering to the state guidelines on operating summer camps, students sat in a row on the floor during the start of each day where they sang patriotic songs and recited the pledge of allegiance.
On Wednesday, attorney Jeff Mornarich of Dole Coalwell Attorneys came to visit the campers to give some insight into the Eighth Amendment: “The people have freedom from excessive bail, cruel and unusual punishments.”
Mornarich was one of the guest speakers to visit the camp. Each day there was a new guest speaker who would go over an amendment with the students.
“Our Founding Fathers knew it was important that you have the right to say bad things about your government and they established the First Amendment,” Mornarich said. “Except they were pretty sharp Founding Fathers, so they said, ‘Wait a minute. If we do that and we don’t keep our government from subjecting us to horrible punishments then we really can’t say what we want.’”
Mornarich asked the children what they would find to be cruel and unusual punishment.
All agreed that cutting off heads and placing them on spikes like they used to do in England was cruel and unusual, the same was true for shackling people to a wall and waiting for the tide to rise to drown the accused.
“We all have some different ideas of what’s cruel and unusual, and it seems like you guys all agree,” Mornarich said. “But our founding fathers didn’t tell us what cruel and unusual is. They didn’t define it.”
When it came to condemning a person to death who had murdered someone the campers were much more split on whether that was OK.
“Our Supreme Court of the United States has said the death penalty does not violate the Eighth Amendment,” Mornarich said. “However, certain states and certain people disagree.”
After a daily lesson on an amendment, groups of students went to their separate classrooms where they would continue learning. Each group was based on the grade level of the camper, although some were moved up or down to accommodate as many campers as possible while maintaining stable groups of eight.
There were several activities, including creating a constitution and rules, creating currency in an outdoor craft project.
Nolan Goodman and Isaac Karnofski, both second graders, said arts and crafts were some of their favorites. Nolan also said he really liked the teacher in “Boston.”
Each station was named for an important city in the American revolution, there was Lexington, Yorktown, Boston, Philadelphia and Valley Forge.
A group near the playground, or Valley Forge, was tasked to create a safety net on a trampoline frame using three different ropes, representing the three branches of government, that would literally support the people.
On the final day of camp, all students received medals from the three presidents as a token of their participation..