Kent House programs and events for spring are now history. School groups will continue to visit through the end of May, but of the most part, they also are through for the year. Open hearth cooking demonstrations have ended and will begin again in October. The narcissus and azaleas have given way to roses, magnolias and the late spring blooms in the Parterre Gardens. Clover dots the lawn, the Carpenter Bees are busy and the Kitchen Garden and Herb Beds are gearing up for their primary season. The 209-year-old main House is preparing for yet another summer.
Summer means an influx of visitors from all over the state, the nation and the world. The house is ready, and the grand dame that she is, will welcome them all. Summer also means camps. For several years now, Kent House has offered some very unique camps. The first camp—Jane in June—is for young ladies from 10 – 15 years of age. It is always held the last week in June and enrollment is limited. Last year, the girls sewed a completely hand-made quilt under the expert guidance of the Kent Plantation House quilters, a volunteer group that meets each Wednesday and whenever Kent House hosts a special event.
Each year, the focus of the camp is to educate the girls by way of hands-on activities of how girls their ages lived, worked and played in the yearly 19th century. They learn period games and pastimes suitable for young ladies of that era. They attend a tea party each day, and on the last day, host a formal tea party for their parents while wearing period attire to show off all they have learned throughout the week.
This year, the primary focus will be on sewing an Empire style dress for an American Girl doll. Thanks to a grant from the Junior League of Alexandria, each girl will receive her very own Josefina doll that will be instantly transformed into an Amelie or Magdelaine or other French Creole name of the camper’s choice. Each young lady, under the guidance of an expert seamstress, will choose her fabric and sew her doll an authentic empire costume. At the tea party on the last day, they will present their accomplishments to all in attendance. Jane in June is a great way for girls to learn how life was lived in the early 1800s while establishing great new friendships.
The second of the summer camps sponsored by Kent House is Camp Kent House. It will be held each Friday in July and is open to boys and girls ages 7 to 12. The theme for this year’s camp will be “Life on a 19th Century Farm”. We’ll have more details in the June issue.
For more information about summer camps and activities at Kent Plantation House, call (318) 487-5660.