While many children would not consider raising well water with a bucket, making dyes or corncob darts fun, Avery Pace, age 10, and her sister, Anne-Campbell Pace, age 7, are fine doing just that.
Fact is, they spent many hours this summer doing those tasks as volunteers at Horne Creek Historical Farm in Pinnacle as 21st century girls honing 19th century skills.
Avery has been a volunteer since age 4, Anne-Campbell since age 3.
“We volunteer a lot,” says Avery. “Sometimes we show people around, sometimes we make things like spoon dolls,” she explained, with a big smile.
“We teach what kids’ games were like a long time ago,” adds Anne-Campbell. “Sometimes we prepare for the games too.”
The girls’ father, Tom Pace, is on the board of the North Carolina Living Historical Farm Committee Inc., Horne Creek’s nonprofit support group. He brought the girls to the site as very young children. They volunteer summers and throughout the year.
Horne Creek Site Manager Lisa Turney has taught them tasks from the early 1900s when the Hauser family worked the farm. They make corn shuck brooms, play the 1905 pump organ, and know the basics of natural dyeing. They help with events like the spring Heritage Day, fall Corn Shucking Frolic and Christmas by Lamplight.
“Avery started volunteering at our Christmas by Lamplight program when she was four,” recalls Turney. “I put her and several other young children in period costume and they handed out treat bags containing candy and fruit to our guests and told them Merry Christmas. Our visitors loved it.”
The girls also loved the Fantastical World of Fairy Tales and Houses program, which the site has done twice this year. “We thought about it when I was in kindergarten, that we should make those,” piped up Anne-Campbell.
“The Hauser kids had fairy tales, it was a big thing for the Hausers,” Avery continued. “Let’s do a fairy tale house. We used moss, bark and tree twigs to make the house. We also used t-lights and twigs to make a mini bonfire and fake fur for a rug for other add-ons to buy. I had a cherry blossom on my house.”
“The first program was standing room only, and the girls came from all around,” recalls Turney. “They were so creative. It gave the participants a chance to use their imagination and not be tied to electronic devices.”
The Pace girls enjoy mastering the skills of another time and learning how those children worked and played. Turney finds that the girls not only help run children’s games and events, but actually help with event planning.
“One of the most interesting things is that I have used Avery and Anne-Campbell as a sounding board regarding children’s programs,” Turney explained. “They are our ‘test market’ so to speak. Nine times out of 10, if they don’t like a proposed children’s program, other children won’t either.”
Horne Creek benefits with help for projects and young ideas from the girls. Turney said Avery’s mom, Amy, had seen development in her as well.
“She thanked me for letting Avery volunteer and said she had really seen Avery’s confidence soar this year. She credits a lot of that to Avery’s volunteering at Horne Creek and being given responsibilities.”
There are 27 state historic sites with volunteer opportunities for children and adults across the state. For additional information on opportunities and programs at Horne Creek Farm, please call (336) 325-2298.