By: Cristina Ramirez, Centennial Volunteer Ambassador at Valley Forge National Historical Park
Pretty much everyone knows the National Park Service turned 100 years old this year, especially if you’re reading this blog. But not everyone knows that this year Valley Forge celebrated 40 years as a national park!
One thing we have been trying to do over the past year is use grants like Every Kid in a Park to provide transportation money to schools that are not otherwise able to take a field trip out to the park. One of the school districts we have been working closely with is the Norristown Area School District. When we heard about the Children’s Earth Anthem being performed in parks all over the country in honor of the Centennial, we knew exactly where to look.
We were put in touch with Dr. Barbara, a Choir Director for the school district. She helped us by getting kids from two different middle school choir classes together and preparing songs to be performed here in the park. We made a plan to provide bus money for them to visit the park on August 25, Founder’s Day. They would see the park film, go on a special ranger-led walk, watch a musket firing, and then perform at the National Memorial Arch.
By the time the date rolled around, we had also added “be on the Department of the Interior snapchat” and “have performance streamed on Facebook Live” to their itinerary. The students were fantastic! I was surprised they had gone through with coming in for a pretty educational field trip during their summer break. They seemed to have a good time though, and really had a great performance.
It might have been a small thing to do on Founder’s Day (we did have a Centennial Celebration Day on the 27th though!), but I think it was a perfect way to celebrate what the centennial is about: remaining relevant into the next century and connecting with and creating the next generation of park advocates.
Their entire performance was streamed live and recorded and posted on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ValleyForgeNHP. You can watch them perform American the Beautiful, Happy Birthday, dance to the Children’s Earth Anthem, and finish up with a fun saxophone performance!