Students pan for gold, find fun at Camp Barnhardt
By Steve Huffman
NEW LONDON ó Kenneth Canup said there’s only one thing wrong with helping school children pan for gold.
“They slosh that dirt around a couple of times and if they don’t find no big nugget, they’re ready to move on,” he said.
There was lots of sloshing and lots of moving on taking place Wednesday at Camp Barnhardt as part of the Learning for Life Field Day.
The event included students from elementary grades through high schoolers, all of whom attend school in either Rowan, Cabarrus or Stanly counties.
Camp Barnhardt, sponsored by the Central N.C. Council of Boy Scouts of America, hosts Learning for Life each spring. The council serves an eight-county area.
Wednesday’s weather couldn’t have been more conducive to an outdoor happening. The sky was clear and a breeze made things cool but not uncomfortable.
One of the activities in which students engaged was panning for gold, courtesy of a large, portable water trough supplied by Billy Tucker, owner of Mountain Creek Gold Mine outside New London.
Tucker dug dirt from his mine, then scooped it into individual pans. The pans were hauled to Camp Barnhardt so students could lower them in the water, sift and look for their bits of fortune.
“You can’t find a big nugget every time,” Tucker advised the students as he handed them pans to begin their sifting. “Occasionally you have to find the little stuff.”
Lisa Zerger, a teacher at Erwin Middle School, accompanied her students to Camp Barnhardt and admitted that their patience wasn’t always what it should have been.
“We were expecting gold,” she said as one of her students returned a pan for a refill.
On the other side of the camp, 80-year-old R.D. Weatherman, a Boy Scout volunteer for the past 36 years, helped special needs students from Salisbury High School shoot a bow and arrow.
“You ever shot a bow before?” Weatherman asked one student.
When she answered “yes,” Weatherman said, “You may know more about it than I do, then.”
Adam Allison, another Salisbury High student, proudly announced to everyone within earshot, “I popped two,” referring to the balloons that were attached to the targets at which they were aiming.
Tim and Sandi Scronce of Ten Ring Archery of Indian Trail volunteered their time Wednesday, as did most of the adults who assisted students with their activities.
“We volunteer more than we get paid,” Sandi admitted, laughing as she spoke.
Field Day activities included outdoor cooking demonstrations, BB shooting and fishing. Members of Rowan Rescue brought their huge air boat (the likes of which are typically associated with the Everglades) and gave students a ride across nearby Badin Lake.
Richard Davis, a district executive for the Central N.C. Council, said Learning for Life is an event through which students from across the area are exposed to Boy Scout activities.
He said that close to 500 students participated in the day’s events.
“We want them to learn something and have an experience they’ll remember for a lifetime,” Davis said. “That’s what scouting does.”
Contact Steve Huffman at 704-797-4222 or email@example.com.