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For two weeks in early June Camp Discover students explored their community, learned about the stories and music of the area, read books about community and recorded their thoughts in special camp journals. Over 80 children from Tracy Elementary and surrounding area completed their camp experience on Friday, June 13 with a final celebration and BBQ lunch at the State Park Visitor’s Center that included community and family members.
This year marked the 3rd year of Camp Discover, based at Tracy Elementary School. The community based partnership is a project led by members of the Grundy County community in partnership with Scholastic, Yale Child Study Center, and Sewanee: The University of the South. Local organizations also generously contribute to make it possible for Camp Discover to provide its rich program including: Tracy City Elementary, the Friends of the South Cumberland, Morton Memorial Methodist Church, and Mountain TOP.
The Camp’s head teacher, Sherry Guyear, working with Tracy Elementary teacher Ms. Jan Roberts, brought together a remarkable team of more than 30 local, talented volunteers. Former Tracy City Principal Russell Ladd returned to lead older campers this year. Naturalist Mary Priestley shared her talent and time, working with children on nature journals. The 4th-6th graders spent time on the Fiery Gizzard trail and learning about the trees, wildflowers and water creatures of the area.
Local musicians, Cameron, Ruth and Sophie Swallow, Betty Carpenter, and Barbara Prunty sang traditional Appalachian songs and helped children create their own music. Campers enjoyed learning folk songs and singing, dancing and making musical instruments.
University of the South art professor Pradip Malde and a number of University and St. Andrews students continued their ongoing work helping campers tell their stories through photography. Digital cameras were donated for all campers to use, recording their observations on field trips to Grundy County attractions.
These field trips were connected to Camp Discover’s theme of community. Campers visited the Cowan Railroad Museum and St. Mary’s Convent and Gardens; the Highlander Folk School and the birthplace of the Tennessee Walking Horse in Pelham where they listened to stories from Miss Janie Belle; Beersheba Springs where they heard the music and stories of Big Don Hill and saw one of the old homes and Coolidge Park where they rode the carousel with scenes painted by local artist Lisa Turner.
On days in Tracy, campers read a variety of books together and enjoyed projects related to the literature, to our local region, and to the themes of friends, family and community. The Discover Together Partnership runs both Camp Discover and the Discover Together Family Co-op for children birth-5 and their families. For further information, contact Emily Partin, at firstname.lastname@example.org.