By Cheryl Rodewig, THE BAYONETJuly 24, 2009
FORT BENNING, Ga. - More than 75 children in Camp Courage, a post summer camp, explored international cultures Friday at Patch Hall.
"You didn't have to take a plane or anything, said 10-year-old Christian Haywood, who attended the camp the last four summers.
"I got a passport, just like in real life. You have to have a passport to go to tropical islands, Africa (and) China," he said. "I would like to travel because of the way it looks here," at camp.
Children ages 6 to 10 discovered countries such as Japan, Mexico and Italy through diverse mediums. They sampled food, looked at displays featuring different flags and languages, made crafts, listened to music and took part in dancing and martial arts demonstrations.
"I'm trying to bring a little creativity and diversity," said James Traylor Jr., a pre-K assistant teacher at the Main Post Child Development Center who coordinated the event.
"A lot of parents can't afford to go around the world and travel, so we're trying to bring it in smaller increments into this cafeteria," he said. "We want these children to learn, but we want them to learn without sitting and listening to a lecture. This is a way we're going to sneak in some learning without them actually knowing about it."
"I loved it," said 9-year-old Kaniya Johnson. "It felt like I was traveling around the world. I bought a mask, a pouch, a purse and a Chinese fan. It's like souvenirs."
Felicia McCord, director of School Age Services, said she would like to have the international day again next year at Camp Courage.
"This will be a learning experience where they realize all cultures are acceptable, and they can experience that hands-on today," McCord said.
"They actually get to try on the clothing. They actually get to taste the foods. I think this will be an experience they never forget."
"You can learn a lot," 10-year-old Chyna Easterling said.
"I learned Mancala - the game I usually play - comes from Africa," she said.
"It's really good to learn about different countries when you're younger so you'll know about them throughout your life. (International day) was exciting and educational at the same time. That's what I like about it."