The 9-12 Pikes Peak Patriots held a graduation ceremony for the five classes of elementary school aged Constitutional Champions at Rock Ledge Ranch in Colorado Springs' Garden of the Gods at the end of four informative and memorable sessions.
The final morning's lessons covered the story of The Star Spangled Banner, explanation and history of the Pledge of Allegiance, private property rights, charity, redistribution of wealth, natural law, founders' belief in God, United States' example to the world, and comparison of a republic versus a democracy. Founders Sam Adams and Ben Franklin shared some of their beliefs and accomplishments as well with the campers and their parents. Since it was so much fun the first day, children re-enacted the Boston Tea Party again.
During the final session with parents regarding current state and local issues, Megan stood up and exclaimed, "I was one of those who said, 'I'm too busy. I have four kids and a husband and a house and homeschooling to take care of. I'm too busy for politics and things like that. But coming here has made me realize that I can't be too busy. I need to get involved because of my husband and my kids and my homeschooling depend on it.'" Several other parents nodded in agreement as she spoke.
The end of the parents' program included time for feedback and suggestions. They shared several helpful refinements and one couple offered to be volunteers for next year. The parents also discussed their kids' stated views of the camp. One mother whose child already was well informed on constitutional matters relayed that she had asked her child, "Did you learn anything new?" Her daughter replied, "Yes, I did learn a little bit more," which clinched this parent's view of the camp as a worthwhile learning atmosphere as well as a good opportunity to spend time with peers.
The campers appeared to enjoy walking up to the flag pole amidst applause as their names were called one by one. In addition to a graduation certificate, they received a bag with resource materials and goodies, which even included a pocket Constitution with a $2 bill hidden inside. Several in attendance commented it was a fitting and rewarding end to this fun, instructional camp centered around our nation's founding document, the Constitution of the United States.
The lessons are over, all the crafts have been made, true stories of heroism and sacrifice have been passed on, the Declaration of Independence has been signed again, and the last bell has sounded, but the things these 58 children learned about American constitutional principles will live on in them as they share with their peers and the next generation.