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Written by Brandi Clement

Each summer, Heritage Park works with Bethesda Mennonite Church and the Mennonite Brethren Church to share the rich history of how and why the Mennonites came to America in the form of a camp for kids.

Dotted with replica structures, Heritage Park provides a great opportunity for children to experience what a church, train depot, general store, and other buildings looked like for the immigrants and pioneers. The camp also helps them understand the good-byes said to loved ones before crossing the sea to a new life in America.

According to Suzanne Ratzlaff, there were eleven students who were part of the Heritage Park Camp on Tuesday, July 9. “The kids move around for experiences and to fully grasp what their ancestors went through to coming to America so they don’t just sit and listen to our stories all morning,” she explained.

The students created passports, attended a church service, packed their suitcases, and took part in other activities at the camp. Through this engaging experience, the children gleaned a valuable understanding about Mennonite history, why many immigrants came to America, and a better understanding of their lifestyles.

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