Carroll County Times
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Fishing, blacksmithing and baking among favorite pastimes at Carroll County Farm Museum’s Living History Camp in Westminster

This week, 9-year-old Mason Belschner of Westminster learned through hands-on activities about what it might have been like to survive life in the 1800s.

Mason was one of a handful of rising third and fourth graders who attended Living History Camp at the Carroll County Farm Museum last week in Westminster.


“It was a tough time because people had nothing except for farm work and they worked their butts off the entire time,” Mason said. “I really like learning about how they got through all of that.”

Mason and the other children spent the week participating in 19th century activities such as fishing, blacksmithing and game-playing.


“On the last day of the camp we do a huge meal, and they spend the whole day cooking all kinds of different things and we all sit down and eat,” said camp Director Makenzie Gawel.

Madelyn Baker, 9, said she enjoyed learning more about local history through the camp.

“My favorite thing so far in the camp is learning about how they did things and how they dressed,” she said.

Living History Camp teaches children about rural farm life in the 1800s through hands-on experience and demonstrations. The next session, set for July 11-15, will host rising fifth and sixth graders, according to the farm museum’s website.

On Wednesday, the campers went fishing using old-fashioned poles, among other activities. Group leader Marie Walters, 19, said that she loves seeing kids immerse themselves in activities at the farm museum.

“I’ve always loved this time period when I was little. … They really like getting their hands dirty,” Walters said. “Fishing was great because the kids caught some fish and they got to release them.”

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Karoline Sorrell, 19, another group leader at the camp, said one of her favorite activities with the kids is baking. Walters agreed.

“Baking is always fun because they get to learn new recipes and eat it at the end of the day,” Walters said.


Jade Sy Piecco, 20, an instructor who helps the participants transition around the camp, said she enjoys seeing the campers appreciate the 19th century “in a fun way.”

“Tasks like old-style games, candle-making, baking — I think they really enjoy participating in those activities and seeing them appreciate them is the best part,” Piecco said.

Evelyn Corbin, 9, who donned a period-appropriate skirt and hat, said she has enjoyed petting the animals who live on the grounds.

Gawel said the goal of the camp is to help a variety of children engage and learn about local history.

“It’s interesting to see the different variety of kids that we get, and it’s really cool to see them be engaged so quickly and start learning things at the camp,” Gawel said. “We want the kids to learn something here that they can’t learn anywhere else.”