A Home School Family's Testimonial to Cumberland Camp         (Printable Version)

When Aunt Fran started talking to us about going to a summer "dance camp" with her sometime, we pretended to be mildly interested but secretly hoped she would just go away quietly. With neither of us having ever done a dance step in our lives, it just was not a high priority on our to-do list.  Ignoring our stubbornness, she continued to pester us with her stories of the dancing and the music and the great people and the activities for the children and the great food and the relaxing surroundings and oh, how much "fun" we would have. Finally, one day in the mail we received notice that Aunt Fran had given us a gift of a week at Cumberland Camp for the whole family. Oh joy! After much discussion (ok, arguing) we decided that it would be too rude to just not show up. (One of us, however, insisted that we were only agreeing to go to be nice and would therefore "just watch" from the sidelines for the week.)  So, leaving behind our hectic schedule typical of a family with 8 and 9 year olds, we headed east from our home in Illinois to south central Kentucky.
We were uncertain of what to expect and a little anxious about what would be expected of us.  Upon our arrival, we were greeted by a very warm and friendly group of people who helped us check in and find our accommodations.  We were given a schedule of daily classes and activities for both adults and young people. After a welcome dinner and a chance to meet other "campers", it was time for the first dance.  The thought of "just watching" disappeared quickly as we were coaxed out onto the floor. (Later we would learn that we had the same look as deer caught in the headlights.)  Despite a little clumsiness at first, we quickly learned that everyone there was patient and eager to help us learn a few simple basics about folk dancing.  Much to our amazement, we found that we were really enjoying ourselves!  It was fun, the kids caught on very quickly and were having a great time, and by the end of the first evening we were pleasantly exhausted and looking forward to the next day.  After winding down in the rocking chairs on the porch, we retired to our air conditioned room for the night.
     For the rest of the week, we continued to learn traditional folk dances -- dances done for generations by our ancestors in a simpler time.  Most of the dancing, even the beginner classes, was done to live music on a variety of traditional instruments. In addition, the camp offered arts and crafts, storytelling, and other traditions of our past.
Several things about this camp appealed to us, not the least of which was that the family car stayed parked for an entire week! We were impressed by the overall friendliness of the staff and other dancers.  The dancing itself was not only fun, but great exercise and unique in that the whole family could participate.  There were times when the adults had classes and the kids had their own activities, but every meal and several dances each day brought us all together again. The music, of course, was fantastic. Most of all, we found that we were spending time with other families who shared similar values and a desire to pass important traditions on to the next generation.
     Four years later, we find that we are hooked on folk dancing.  We continue to make Cumberland Camp an annual family vacation, and we have added other dance "gatherings" to our schedule as well. Sometimes we dance a lot between summer camps and sometimes we dance only a little, but when we get back to Cumberland it's like
coming home.
The Schreibers