Author Archives: Melanie Neubaum

EXTREME Camp, Loudoun Session I–Exploring Monticello and Antietam

Hello! Last Friday, we had our longest journey of camp, to Charlottesville where we saw Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello. We hiked the 2.5 mile trail to the entrance and then enjoyed a tour detailing the daily lives of the Jefferson family. Students also had a chance to visit the hands-on Discovery Center (and the gift shop, of course).

So far this week, we’ve braved the storms in Antietam, home of the bloodiest battle in Civil War history. Each student was given a role of a solider or someone who witnessed the destruction of this battle for the day. Campers were given the opportunity to practice loading and firing a cannon and communicating the way that soldiers did during the Civil War using signal flags! We also saw a demonstration on Civil War medicine, and the difficulties surgeons faced. Then, we marched from the north, carrying our muskets to Dunker Church. Due to the impending thunderstorms, our wonderful guide was able to extend his tour an extra two hours and allowed us to tour the Newcomer House, the Sunken Road, and the Burnside Bridge; but unfortunately, we were not able to tube Antietam Creek. If you’d like to see our adventures from the last two days, check our our Facebook page.

Loudoun EXTREME Camp, Session 1, Day 1

We started our first day of the EXTREME Journey Summer Camp by cracking the codes needed to discover our Piscataway names and leadership words while we travelled north to the Potomac River, where our canoes waited. Each student had a unique Piscataway name and word that was unique to them – if you meet a camper, be sure to ask what theirs is! We began in Brunswick, Maryland, and learned the basics of canoeing from our guides Mike and Shane, from River & Trail Outfitters. We then began the 10-mile canoe trip and made various stops along the way. On Conoy Island, we met Hope Butler of the Piscataway tribe, where we got to touch and see artifacts of the Piscataway people, who once inhabited the island. We also stopped at a famous Native American fishing area to swim and play in the Potomac. We saw several Blue Herons and even a couple of Bald Eagles! We finished our journey near the Monocacy Aqueduct. If you would like to see pictures from our adventures, check out the Facebook page.

Over the next couple of days, the students will select the leaders they wish to research for their camp vodcasts, and will begin to truly focus on what leadership means to them. We will venture just a little ways from our host school, Smarts Mill, to visit the mansion at Morven Park and learn about Westmoreland Davis, a former governor of Virginia. Then, we will begin in Brunswick and bike to Harper’s Ferry, making four stops along this route. We will learn about one of America’s most famous leaders, George Washington, and the role he played in connecting the Potomac River with the territories west.