When campers from North Charleston entered the Congressional Medal of Honor Museum on board the aircraft carrier Yorktown and learned that medal recipient Ralph Henry Johnson was born in Charleston, they couldn’t help but be awed.
“It was fun and exciting to learn about all these different things aboard the ship,” said Kailyn Brown of Jerry Zucker Middle School.
Learning the background about Johnson was part of what students found out on their tour through the Yorktown, where they got to explore such rooms as where sailors congregated to pray, bunks where they slept and the medical bay where they were treated.
“It was awesome,” said Tamiah Boyd of Hunley Park Elementary School. “I learned that when a sailor died, they were put into a casket and stored within the ship.”
The students also got to see and touch sea creatures like a sea snail and a diamondback terrapin.
“It was great seeing all the different animals and different plankton I have never seen before,” said Jabari Moore of Northwoods Middle School.
Even the camp counselors enjoyed themselves. “This has to be the best field trip ever,” said Ebony Grant of Murray Hill Community Center. “I experienced a lot. This place has such nice scenery.”
Some students had to conquer their fear of heights and tight spaces to explore the Yorktown.
“In the past, we have had to bring kids down from the flight deck area because they were afraid of heights,” said Keith Grybowski, director of education at Patriots Point.
Grybowski said most of these children had never been on the other side of the Cooper River bridge, adding, “It is a very enlightening experience just considering that.”
The camp program ran July 2-9 for about 110 to 160 students with the North Charleston Department of Recreation’s summer camp programs.
They participated in Patriots Point’s history and science program.
“These kids are getting to see things that they don’t get to see in their everyday personal lives,” said Robert Clark, head of communications and media relations at Patriots Point.
The experience was made possible by the Patriots Point Scholarship Program, which used money from community partners to cover transportation costs for the campers.
“The critical thing about this camp was the cooperation between North Charleston and us in covering the transportation,” Grybowski said.
Reach Tyler Simpson at 937-5925