“Standing Tall Through it All”

By Heather Halbert, Banker’s House Summer Camps Director

“Standing Tall through it All” –this is the theme for the Banker’s House Summer Camps for 2021, and these camps are now in full swing!

Last week, campers engaged in many fun and educational activities which helped them to  learn about the history and beauty of the Banker’s House and its impact on the community. But just as important, they also learned of the resilience of those who lived and loved the Banker’s House through the years.

We started out the week with Banker’s House Executive Director Dr. Carolyn Jackson and Assistant Camp Director Lowrey Young giving the campers a fun and information-packed tour of the Banker’s House. The campers asked lots of questions and were especially excited to hear the stories of the beloved bankers who lived at the house.

We heard from many members of the community. On Tuesday, Travis Mangum, Dr. Lee Gilliatt and Debbie Phillips came and told stories of the Banker’s House horses. They then helped the campers groom and ride some horses that were visiting for the day.

Campers who had never ridden horses were so excited to be given the opportunity to ride! Travis also brought baby quails for the students to hold, and this was a definite first for all of the campers!

On Tuesday afternoon, the campers took a walk through Sunset Cemetery. They were excited to see the memorials for many of the folks they had learned about through the previous couple of days. The kids also made connections – like noticing that there were English Boxwoods at the Blanton Memorial, because they had learned that Nancy Blanton had loved her English Boxwoods.

On Wednesday, we were given a tour of Bank OZK. History continued to come to life for the campers as they visited the board room and saw grand portraits of the people they had been learning about.

They then visited the Farmer’s Market and purchased fun items like flowers and fruits.

The final leg of the tour was a “Grade A” tour of the Shelby Police Department. Campers got to visit the dispatch room, tried on bullet-proof vests, and interacted with many police officers.

Shelby Landscape Architect Fred Blackley gave a wonderful talk about the different types of trees on the property. He also gave a science lesson on how roots help trees to “Stand Tall through it all.”

After Fred’s talk, campers discussed about how we need figurative roots in our lives to help us to be resilient and to stand tall as well.

Banker’s House Director of Facilities Scott Eaker gave a fun and entertaining talk about the historical tools and gadgets found on the grounds. He also took the campers on a “walk through time” to help them think about the how life was much different in a world where you couldn’t run to Walmart for your needs.

We culminated the week with a presentation for the campers’ friends and family members. The performance included songs, poems and their favorite moments of the week.

Each day included a variety of games, art activities and science experiments to help support the theme of “Standing Tall through It All.”