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Past Times Summer Camp brings history to life

DESTREHAN — Amidst the uncertainty regarding how long social distancing guidelines will remain in place, many annual summer programs are opting to postpone activities until further notice. Destrehan Plantation, however, is introducing a new summer program called Past Times Camp.

Destrehan Plantation, which has hosted field trips for schools across St. Charles Parish for many years, has decided to extend their learning opportunity to a five-day camp over the summer.

The camp, which is largely centered around teaching children about Louisiana’s history in a fun way, will run from July 20-24. The camp will be available for children between the ages of 7 and 12, and the registration fee is $175. The camp has a participant limit of around 50 students, but many slots are still available.

Each day campers will look at a different period in history and will complete activities relating to each period. Children will get an opportunity to play old-time games, as well as make some of their own old-time toys that they can take home.

According to Destrehan Plantation’s website, camp activities will include butter making, candle making and rope making, as well as daily opportunities to read, write and talk about Louisiana history.

Rachel Allemand, heritage education coordinator, assured the public that the camp is making preparations to follow all guidelines for social distancing, in order to keep participants safe.

“We’re actually monitoring what the requirements are. The guidelines may change by the end of July. Whatever guidelines officials give, we will follow,” Allemand said. “For example, we will probably have smaller groups of children than we would normally have, sanitize on a scheduled basis, and have many hand sanitizing and hand washing opportunities.”

The camp looks to offer a unique experience for children who normally only get to visit the historic site for one day.
“This is actually the first time we’ve done the Past Times camp. Many groups of students come for one-day field trips throughout the school year, and we wanted to provide an opportunity for a five-day learning experience,” said Allemand. “We want children to have fun, but also to learn something. Along with the history and activities, there will be reading and writing opportunities.”

The camp is partially funded by the United Way of St. Charles.

For more information, visit Destrehan Plantation’s website at destrehanplantation.org/events/past-times-camp or contact Rachel Allemand at 985-764-9315, ext. 102.

– This article was submitted by Lora Leigh Luquet, contributing writer to L’OBSERVATEUR.