At our elementary school 4th grade is when the kids learn about local history, and specifically our class learns about the Donner Party and Sutter's Fort. Kids research a real person from the wagon train, including finding primary sources in our main library (one of my favorite parts). It all culminates in a trip to the actual Fort where they spend their time immersed in period-specific activities like rope braiding, baking in a fire oven, and everyone's favorite, hauling water. Eli and Sydney did their trips pre-COVID, so they also got to dress up and spend the night. Post-COVID, and much to Averson's disappointment, they don't dress up or spend the night. Her teacher tried to hide her grin when she broke the news. I suspect she didn't love sleeping on the ground in the kitchen as much as the kids did.
C has volunteered every year, and is always assigned as "Fire Tender." He spends the day keeping the fires burning all across the fort. This year they were short on volunteers, so Eli got to go too! He was assigned to be "Wagon Master" He taught the kids all about covered wagons and also played a rousing game of stick and hoop. I thought he might be winging it, but he apparently watched the orientation video multiple times and when I stopped by and got his spiel he really knew what he was talking about. Like people didn't actually ride in the wagons, unless they were literally infirm and on their deathbeds. And the kids' job was to count the wheel rotations. 360 rotations = 1 mile. Every 4 miles they'd stop and grease the wheels. All the kids seemed much more grateful for their roadtrip accoutrements after that! I got two calls after the trip to tell us how great Eli did. This kid...
Three generations heading out! I designed these sweatshirts for the class during my brief "get involved in all the things" moment but I really love them and I'm glad about it.
The whole crew of pioneers
Both my guys showing off their injuries. C cut his finger (again!) on a saw and Eli broke his wrestling. They're a hot mess, the two of them.
And look at these adorable blasts from the past. It made me a little sad to know that this is the last one, if I'm honest.
Eli's trip, when they used to spend the night and wear full costumes