PLATTSBURGH — Thaddeus Booth Trudo has participated in Civil War action the last two summers and will do so again this year.
So will Kyra and Kendra Becker, who will join Booth Trudo and several other area youth in the third-annual Civil War Camp offered by the Clinton County Historical Association.
“It’s an interesting course, and the guy who teaches it, Matt Hewson, he’s a great teacher,” said Booth Trudo, 14.
“I’ve been interested in history for years and years,” he added. “I’ve had people from my family in pretty much every U.S. conflict from the French and Indian Wars all the way up to Vietnam.”
For Kyra and Kendra, who will both turn 11 in a couple of weeks, participating in last year’s event was just by chance.
“My friend, Aiyana Lamoy, talked me into going,” Kyra said. “I didn’t know anything about it. But we had so much fun. It was the best part of the summer.”
“We got to wear costumes like soldiers, carry backpacks and use fake money,” Kendra added. “At the end of camp, we got to trade in all the money (they earned as Union soldiers during the camp) for Tootsie Rolls.”
The twins both agreed that the camp offered them an advantage in social studies class, including what it was like to be a part of the Civil War.
Although the Historical Association program focuses on that conflict, it also gives participants a hands-on look at what it was like to live in a different era.
“The real significance of the camp is that it focuses less on the textbook-style approach and more from the personal perspective of what it was like to live in that time period,” Hewson said. “We cover all of the socioeconomic and political factors but also spend a great deal of time on the food and clothing, the daily routine of what it was like to be a soldier from the North Country in the Union army.”
For Booth Trudo, who has not cemented his future plans yet but may consider a career as a historian, the program offered an up-close look at the Civil War.
“Matt takes us outside and has us basically go through the tactics of some of the major battles like Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Antietam and Bull Run,” he said.
Booth Trudo also used information from the camp for a Civil War project in eighth grade last year.
This year’s camp will include some new activities for the repeat campers but will still focus on the historical significance of the Civil War, said Hewson, who is a regular participant in Civil War re-enactments locally and in other regions.
“You can always change the activities, but you can’t change the history of what happened,” he said.
The Clinton County Historical Association will host two Civil War Youth Camps this summer. The first runs from this Tuesday through Friday, while the second is July 17 through 20. Both sessions go 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day. There is a $10 registration fee.
To register, call 561-0340 or email director