From The World Of Parks & Recreation
By Doug Comer
What is Appalachia? Before you answer that question, let me clarify this. Stopping by the Purple Fiddle in Davis, West Virginia or downloading Appalachian Journey by Yo-Yo Ma on I-tunes does not even remotely make you an expert in the field. It runs way deeper than that. And beginning in December, Harrison County Parks and Recreation hopes to teach you more about the Mountain State’s Appalachian History.
“In the past, our Passport Enrichment program has covered the world,” said Director Mike Book. “And our discussion on the day-to-day lives of children in different countries has been the staple in that program. To add to the program, we added Appalachia to the program and it was very well received. So, we directed this year’s program solely on life in Appalachia.”
Being the only state completely covered in the Appalachia territory, West Virginia has a great abundance of history connected with the lifestyle. There have been many festivals throughout the summer season solely for Appalachia history.
Appalachian people are considered a separate culture, made up of many unique backgrounds. Native Americans, Irish, English and Scotch primarily made up the descendants of ancestry while German and Polish immigrants would later come and blend in the region.
Beginning in parts of Pennsylvania and transcending into Georgia, the mountain regions kept Appalachia isolated from the rest of the country, and most importantly, from the influence of other people’s involvement in their lives; they developed a distinctive culture.
“I am sure that many families in this area have some related background with Appalachia. Again, we are the only state in the entire area consumed by the Appalachian region, and we feel that today’s kids needs to know about the lives of their ancestry,” said Book.
From games to food, our enrichment program will touch on the lives of those from that era and their daily activities. There will be crafts for the children to create as well as hands-on activities including children’s games and various snacks or meals for them to sample.
“We want to celebrate the home life and creative history of Appalachia,” said Book. “Participants will be given an insight on into everyday lives, language and culture. For a lot of people, these are our forefathers and they lived in the rugged and remote mountains that both served to isolate and preserve a way of life.”
The Appalachian culture we witness today is one that has been preserved mostly by families and churches. Two characteristics of the culture of Appalachia are the independence displayed and the constant mutual aid provided by others in the region. There is a sense of equality that exists between the people.
“We hope that our program will give everyone a better understanding of what life is like in Appalachia. Today, we celebrate the culture and even the music has taken a hold in society. We just want to do our part in sharing the knowledge of a lifestyle that is so important to our area,” Book finished.
The program begins in December and runs through the last week of the year. While school sponsored field days will take up the morning days, we will offer a couple “Family Fun Days” on December 6th and 20th from 2-4 pm at the Recreation Complex. The event is free of charge and open to anyone who wishes to attend.
For more information, please contact the HCPR or find us on Facebook at Harrison Parks.