Middle school students in Otoe and Nemaha counties will have the opportunity to research local stories relating to World War I during this summer’s Chautauqua Youth Camps at the Morton-James Public Library.
Kristi Hayek Carley, program manager for Humanities Nebraska, and Dr. Ann Birney of Ride into History were in Nebraska City Wednesday afternoon for a planning meeting with library staff members.
Birney and Dr. Joyce Thierer will be in charge of the Youth Camp, and they will help students research and tell the local stories of the war.
The students are providing a service to the community, said Birney, and the hope is that a speaker’s bureau will be developed through which the young people can continue to tell local stories, including those that involve Arbor Day and other community events.
Birney said she hoped participants in the Peru State College History Day event would come be a part of the Youth Camp and that the Nebraska City “community of learners” would continue to grow.
“The stories are there,” said Carley, who added that Humanities Nebraska hoped to bring more attention to World War I, which has sometimes been bypassed by other 20th-century events in historical importance.
The Youth Camp won’t just focus on military or international events, said Carley. It will also look at women’s suffrage and race relations in the United States during and after the war, she said.
“We want to get into the local connections” with the Youth Camp, said Carley, “to make it real for the students so they’ll continue to study history and continue to be curious.”
Library director Donna Kruse said she and the staff are looking forward to people in the community becoming involved with the youth and adult learning opportunities attached to the Chautauqua events in Nebraska City.
The Youth Camp is set to take place from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday, June 19, through Friday, June 23, at the library. Camp participants will also have an opportunity to share their findings at a 6 p.m. performance at Nebraska City High School on Friday, June 23.
Applications for the camp are available at the library, and library staff are also interested in hearing from residents who have World War I stories, such as ancestors who served in the war or stories from the home front that have been passed down through the years.
Call 402-873-5609 to find out how to share your family’s stories.