- Associated Press - Friday, August 1, 2014

NEWBURGH, Ind. (AP) - At Angel Mounds State Historic Site, more than 30 campers battled to the “death” for rights to call themselves “Hunger Games” champion.

The Hunger Games camp held at Angel Mounds State Historic Site is for children ages 6 to 12. Students who have outgrown the camp ages still come back to be counselors-in-training.

The camp is styled after the hit young adult book and movie series, starring archer Katniss Everdeen, played by Jennifer Lawrence in the movies. In the series, children battle for their lives as Tributes in a game to the death every year - the Hunger Games - held by the leaders of the Capitol. During the Games, the Tributes are released to gather supplies and weapons at the Cornucopia, an area stockpiled with necessities to win the Games.

Haley Tallman, the Angel Mounds program developer, told the Evansville Courier & Press (https://bit.ly/1nZ1Nnb ) this is the second year for the Angel Mounds “Hunger Games” camp, and it is one of six camps the state historic site hosts each summer.

In the camp, students learn about archery, fire-starting, camouflaging, spear throwing and how to make little leather pouches and paracord bracelets. Campers spent Thursday swimming at the “Capitol,” or Scales Lake Park in Boonville.

On the final day of camp, the Tributes gathered for a final feast - laden with snow cones, spaghetti and other color foods and drinks - and then headed to the “arena” for the final showdown. The “arena” was the area out on the mounds at the historic site.

After Tallman announced a few ground rules and safety guidelines, the campers were released to battle it out, racing to one of the round mound houses, or the Angel Mounds’ “Cornucopia,” to gather NERF guns and toy bows and arrows, water guns, foam swords and shields as well as other supplies.

Ashton Locke, 12, a student at Castle North Middle School, attended the “Hunger Games” camp last year as a camper and came back this year as a counselor-in-training. Locke has been coming to Angel Mounds’ camps for about four years.

“Whenever I first came to the ‘Hunger Games’ camp, I didn’t know what to expect,” Locke said. “They just make it so fun while they’re teaching us so much.”

Angel Mounds also hosts other educational camps, including a Vikings camp, Greek and Roman history camp, as well as a camp that explores Native American culture and history.

“They just make it so real,” Locke said. “They bring you back in time.”

Phoebe Merkel, 10, and Josephine Linderman, 8, had an alliance going into the final game on July 25. Merkel said she usually attends all of the Angel Mounds camps during the summer and has been a camper there for about five years.

“I really liked fort building in the woods because we only get to use the stuff we find out in the woods,” Merkel said.

Campers attached three flags to themselves, which represented how many lives they had. If another camper stabbed them with a foam sword or shot them with a water gun, the camper would lose a flag - and would lose a life.

While quite a few of the campers enjoyed the “death match,” Locke and 9-year-old Justin Reherman loved the Capitol Feast.

“My favorite part of camp was the feast,” Reherman said. “Because they had snow cones and spaghetti - which is my favorite.”

Reherman said he has made good friends at the camp and has liked learning how to survive out in the wild.

Tallman said that’s what she enjoys teaching the campers the most - how to appreciate the outdoors.

“I’m an outdoor recreations person,” she said. “So I love teaching them survival skills and about the outdoors. And just how to be resourceful and engage the outdoors.”


Information from: Evansville Courier & Press, https://www.courierpress.com



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