Submitted by the YMCA of Van Wert County

VAN WERT, Ohio - The Jennings Creek Council and the Van Wert YMCA are again partnering to bring the Van Wert community a fun, interactive reenactment of how life was in the 1800's. The YMCA's Camp Clay will be the site for both the Spring Rendezvous throughout the entire weekend of May 13-15, as well as the Camp Clay Grand Re-opening on Saturday, May 14, Noon to 4 p.m.

The Jennings Creek Council reenacts what life was like in the early 1800's when brave men would travel deep into the American wilderness in search of beaver pelts and other fine furs. If a man was skilled enough to survive the winter trapping season, he would gather his furs and travel many miles to prearranged places called Rendezvous, French for "gathering place". Here they would gather and reunite with their families and exchange their furs for money and supplies. Relaxing in relative safety, they would renew friendships with those not seen over the year. There would be great story telling, singing and dancing, and tests of their woodsman skills such as flintlock shooting and tomahawk throwing.

According to history, these rendezvous' were the most important part of the year for these men and their families. Whether they were called Mountain Men, Buck Skinners, Trappers, or Voyageurs; they were the forerunners of American history. They opened the doors to the unknown, which led to the eventual taming of the land by the flood of pioneers and settlers that would soon follow.

"The Jennings Creek Council re-enactors come from all over Ohio, Michigan and Indiana and are looking forward to being able to again use the YMCA Camp Clay campus for their rendezvous", said Larry Morrison, President of the JCC.

Most everything in the members camp areas are period accurate. The camps are allowed to have some modern conveniences; however they have to remain hidden during visiting hours. This allows for the most authentic hands on teaching and learning history experience for visitors.

"The YMCA is very excited to offer this special event to the Van Wert community," said Hugh Kocab, Executive Director of the YMCA. "The pioneer camps will provide some great family fun and a local opportunity to experience life in the 1800's," Kocab added.

The Jennings Creek Council and YMCA Camp Clay welcome you to step back into this colorful period of American history and witness an authentic reenactment of the Rendezvous. There will be black powder muzzleloader competitions, tomahawk and knife throwing, open fire cooking, period games and other demonstration of skills and camp life.

Information about this and other programs available at Van Wert YMCA Camp Clay can be found by calling the Van Wert YMCA at 419.238.0443, visiting www.vwymca.org, or emailing clint@vwymca.org. Camp Clay is located at 9196 Liberty Union Road, Van Wert. The YMCA of Van Wert County is partially funded by the Van Wert County Foundation and United Way.