Learning Valuable Life Lessons at Princess Camp in Monroe

By Ansleigh Hester | The Tribune Intern

Princess Camp at McDaniel-Tichenor House: Photos by Deborah Stewart | Special to the Tribune

Lindsey McKinney and a team of volunteers hosted Princess Camp on Tuesday through Thursday at the McDaniel-Tichenor House, in Monroe. Campers leave this annual camp with a certificate and valuable skills to use in everyday life.

Mrs. Vivian, one of the volunteers at Princess Camp, stood at the counter with the little girls explaining the characteristics of being a princess.

“Princesses are graceful…respectful…and kind,” Mrs. Vivian said. “This is just one example as to how this camp educates on etiquette.

Eleanor Prather, a historian of the McDaniel-Tichenor House for over 10 years, shared how she uses the house’s history to educate the young girls.

“I usually start off talking about how the house is different from our houses today. I explained that there wasn’t a bathroom, electricity or running water. It’s amazing to them how different it was back then.”

Prather believes that the children love to learn about the history surrounding the house.

Lindsey McKinney, executive director of the McDaniel-Tichenor House, agrees that having a historical lesson each day of camp stimulates the girls.

“The history lessons that Mrs. Eleanor Prather teaches is one of my favorites also. She’s been teaching the historical values of the house for many years. We try to bring a historical element to the house and some fun activities too,” McKinney says. “I think this makes us more unique and different than other camps.”

The last day of camp is the main event of the week. The children dressed up as their favorite princess, and participated in the ceremony that crowns them princesses. Upcoming third grader Catherine Preston expressed her excitement for the final day of camp.

“I’m looking forward to experiencing the last day of the camp because I’ll get to dress up as a princess and put on a crown,” Preston said.

The princesses received a certificate that stated they passed Princess Camp, and they received a crown. The children were able to take a picture with the older princesses. Each group was able to take a magical carriage ride near the McDaniel-Tichenor House, sponsored by Abundance Wealth Advisors. The kids also met the famous Fairy Godmother for storytime.

“The children are so youthful that they experience life in a different way which I love to see. I’ve learned that we are making a positive impact on these girls. It’s really refreshing to see us be a part of these camper’s lives,” McKinney said.

Volunteers Alek Spoon and Journey Allen gave their opinion on Princess Camp, and their experiences being princesses for the first time.

“This is my first time playing Ariel. I love being a princess and seeing the kids excited,” Spoon said.

She volunteered to be a princess at the camp because in the future she plans on being a teacher.

“This program gives me experience for my future in teaching. It gives me the chance to see different
age groups and how they interact,” Spoon said.

“I like being a princess because I get to participate in activities and be within the group. I get to walk around and meet all the kids,” Allen said. “I love how they [the children] are very excited to be here and meet us.”

McKinney shared that she is able to inspire the younger girls within the camp and she’s able to feel young again.

“Knowing that we get to impact lives during this camp makes me want to get involved. Being a child again with these girls makes it worthwhile. I feel like I get to be a camper because I do the activities with the kids,” McKinney said.

Princesses like Tiana, Aurora, Cinderella, Ariel, Belle and Jasmine are like role models to these girls. Every girl at camp has their favorite princess that impacts their life in a positive manner. Preston’s favorite princess is Belle.

“She inspires me to be kind to other people. She also inspires me to be helpful,” Preston said.

Spoon’s favorite princess is Ariel, which is also the character she plays at camp.

“My favorite princess has always been Ariel. Since I was little I’ve had red hair, so I felt equated to her. I loved how she was drawn to what she loved. Now that I’m older, I can see she works hard for what she wants, which is what I try to do,” Spoon said.

Not only does the McDaniel-Tichenor House hold the Princess Camp every summer, but they also hold other events.

“We are advocating for preservation of the house currently. We do many fundraisers like weddings, baby showers, engagement photos, graduation parties and corporate lunches or meetings,” McKinney

McKinney mentioned that Emily Tichenor donated the house with the request that it would be open to the people. Without this request, the young girls of Walton County would not be able to find their inner princess at Princess Camp.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply