Youth Archaeology Camp Week 1!
WOW! I love middle schoolers… who knew I would ever say those words, but I sure do feel that way after such a great week! This past week I spent Monday through Wednesday with 11 of my favorite middle schoolers, from early dawn to late evening. The first day everyone is so awkward, and all the students really just stare everyone down making mental notes about everyone. But on the second day they really break through their tough angsty shell. This always makes me feel happy, because I know that we created a comfortable environment for the kids to be themselves in.
Monday had a lot of speakers and sitting down to listen, which is hard for any age, including me. We went to Punche Valley where we were able to see 10,000+ year old petroglyphs. Then we got to sit around and watch a master flint knapper at work. It was incredibly interesting to watch someone recreate arrowheads, and the whole process was quite intricate and laborious. Tuesday was easily the best day of the camp, because we took the kids to the active mammoth dig site named Scott Miller on the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge. The students were actually able to dig and examine the layers of the soil at the dig site. They also learned about how to tell a bone from a tooth: by licking it. It was actually pretty funny, because the whole time you would see kids basically licking everything they found to see if it was a bone and I think they licked every bone in that dig site. Then we were able to throw the infamous atlatls!!! These were weapons the native people used to use when hunting mammoths.
All in all, those kids were absolutely wonderful and quite funny. And on Wednesday before they left, they all wrote thank you notes and it was the best thing to read after a gruesomely long three days. Most of them were thankful for the free food and free snacks (I also was thankful for that), but they were also surprisingly sincere and sweet and it reminded of why I love kids so much.