Thanksgiving week will afford many Columbia County children the opportunity to learn what it was like to live in pre-Colonial America.
Mistletoe State Park in Appling will hold its second Indian and Pioneer Lifestyles camp Tuesday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.
Program assistant Brenda Bettross said the program was very popular in its first year, with some children having to be turned away because there was not enough space.
"The main reason I decided to do this program last year is because the Columbia County school system now gets a week off for fall break during Thanksgiving week," said Bettross.
"That got me to thinking what an opportunity it offered to do a program to help kids get a better understanding of what the first Thanksgiving may have been like."
It was vastly different from today's celebrations. According to the Scholastic Web site, the first Thanksgiving feast was a days-long celebration between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indian tribe.
The Pilgrims, who had settled in Plymouth, Mass., and had spent 10 months building their colony, invited the Wampanoag to celebrate the colony's first successful harvest.
If not for the help of the native Wampanoag people and their leader, the Pilgrims wouldn't have been as successful in surviving the winter and reaping a bountiful harvest.
Keeping a fire burning was an important job for the pioneers and Indians because meals were cooked over the fire, and it was used to keep warm in the winter. Participants at Mistletoe's camp will learn the skills of firemaking and how important that job was for those charged with tending it.
They will also learn what to look for on a nature hike and the importance of the wildlife and plants to the pioneers and Indians. They will learn how to make their own butter and pioneer toys, as well as candles and candleholders, which they will take home.
The day camp is open to children 6 to 12 years old and costs $20 per child.
Registration is required by Monday and can be made by calling the park office at (706) 541-0321.
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