The cover of John Linz’s 11-page scrapbook that looks back at the 2017 Colonial Kids’ Week – Courtesy image (c) John Linz, 2017 all rights reserved

Compiled by The Bedford Citizen

The Job Lane House was the setting recently for 11 Bedford youngsters to live, work, and play for a week as Colonial kids would have done.  Under the guidance of Betsey Anderson, Judy Barber, Don Corey, Ralph Hammond, Sharon McDonald, and Lee Yates, with assistance from Jeff Carter, Peter Corey, Roy and Shirley Kring, and John Linz the children did every task from churning butter to spinning wool and raking hay.  In between their chores, they learned how colonial kids had fun by mastering the technique of walking on stilts, kite flying, and hoop rolling.

Click here to view Job Lane board member John Linz’s 11-page scrapbook that highlights the week’s activities

The week culminated in a town meeting session, led by Betsey Anderson, in which the children discussed and voted on articles of governance appropriate to the times. (Women’s rights to vote and swine were prominent in the discussion.) See http://www.thebedfordcitizen.org/2017/07/democracy-action-job-lane-house/

As Lee Yates explained, “The idea of the first Colonial Kids Week was to introduce the kids to some of the skills they would need if they lived in colonial times. It was all meant to be as much hands-on as possible, and each day we sent the kids home with something they made themselves.”  Lee concluded, “We had a wonderful time, and so did the kids!”

The Week was sponsored by the Directors of the Friends of the Job Lane House and offered through the Bedford Recreation Department.  Here’s the schedule:

  • Monday: Making a fire with flint and steel (taught by Boy Scout leader Jeff Carter) and dipping candles (Lee Yates)
  • Tuesday: Militia drill (Roy and Shirley Kring), dyeing yarn with plant materials (Lee Yates), and making a hoop-and-stick toy (SharonMcDonald)
  • Wednesday: Using tools (Don Corey), assembling and using stilts (Don Corey and Ralph Hammond; stilt poles made by Peter Corey)Note: Peter went into the woods and gathered 22 straight sticks for the stilts; Don added foot pieces, and the kids screwed the pieces together – a  tough job, as the wood had swelled. As Sharon said, the kids were determined to master this skill, despite some ups and downs, and most could do it with practice.
  • Thursday: Making butter (Lee Yates), song writing (Sharon McDonald), and weaving (Sharon McDonald)
  • Friday: Colonial Town Meeting (Betsey Anderson), making kites (Lee Yates), and a tour of the Job Lane House (Sharon McDonald)

Throughout the week a group of youngsters videographed each day’s activities for Bedford TV, with Ralph Hammond as a mentor.

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