Monday, August 22, 2016

Upper Canada Village (2016)

Another one of those lasts happened in August, Ashley's fourth and final chance to attend Upper Canada Village's Time Travelers Camp. In 2013 she only went for a weekend. In 2014 and 2015, and again this year, she went for five days. In 2014 I was lucky enough to talk her into guest blogging. That doesn't seem likely this year since I procrastinated on writing, and in the meantime high school has started.

This year she and Don drove up without me. Despite (or because of) being prepared for questions by border control about one parent taking the child out of the country and having a signed letter, it was never questioned. Don spent a few days with our friend Chris, while I stayed home. I flew up on Porter to join them on Thursday and drove home with them on Friday.

Unlike the past three years, when I walked into the seamstresses house where Ashley was working I was greeted with a huge smile and a welcoming hug. Other years Ashley has stayed in character. I was very touched, in the way my friends with 14-year olds can most fully appreciate.

This year she coordinated to go the same week as her Canadian friend, Lauren (whom she met at camp the year before). Lauren is the same grade as Ashley, but is not yet 14 (due to school cut off dates), so she can return next summer as a camper. Oh what a difference a couple of months makes.

As in past years, the campers learn a trade during the day and dress in period attire while doing so. Basically they look like typical 1866 children while Upper Canada Village is open. At night they wear normal 21st century clothing and hang out together. They have the run of the place after hours (think "Night at the Museum"). They sleep in regular beds in an air-conditioned house.

I have a feeling I am going to have to fix this post later, but I remember she made a sachet at the seamstress's house, a small basket at the broom maker's shop (last year she made a broom), and a pouch at the shoemaker's shop. She probably had two more stations (one for each day).

On Friday they show off for the parents, play old-fashioned games, attend school, and go home. 

This year's group had a lot of 14-year olds in it. The week earlier had mostly 9-year olds. It is the luck of who is choosing what week to go. This was our top choice based on other summer plans.

This year Ashley's room won the room decorating contest. The prize was they could wear a hoop skirt for an hour (yes,

a very old-fashioned prize). Fortunately I sent her off with my camera and she took a picture for me (gotta love the sneakers).

This is her in her other costume. She saw a tiny girl wearing the dress she wore her first year and realized just how much she has grown since 2013 -- physically, as well as emotionally.

Here is a picture of most of what she has made over the years. They barely have 90 minutes to make something worthy of taking home that does not involve tools sharper than a sewing needle, so choices are limited. They try to not let kids repeat too much. Some trades, such as shoe making, are traditionally boy jobs, but after a few years they let the girls do it, too. After all there is a limit to how many sachets one really needs.

While part of Ashley would love to be a counselor, the international aspect of garnering working papers is an issue, as is their schedule. The counselors work 12 hours shifts and go home the other 12 hours. Where would she go?

These are her daytime counselors. Both during the day and night shifts there were Jessicas. To distinguish between them they called the daytime one "AllDayIca" and the night one was simply "Jessica."

The week is spent without electronics (except for a camera (if you want)). She was happy for the break, but also happy once we crossed the border back into the USA where her data plan is active. The drive home was partially spent catching up with her NJ friends. We stopped in Binghamton for dinner at Whole in the Wall (a favorite spot in Binghamton). The long break gave Ashley a chance to regale us with camp stories. Family dinner hour is always precious, but this was one of the most special ones I remember.

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