Fort Ontario Summer Youth Program registration now open

Children practice military drills at Fort Ontario State Historic Site in a unique program coordinated by Oswego County AmeriCorps members Ian Mumpton (right) and Steven Woods.

Fort Ontario State Historic Site announced the return of its Summer Youth Program for youth ages 8-16.

Last year, more than 100 youth participated in 18th and 19th century games, sports, military drill, wilderness tactics, martial arts and other activities.

The program is designed to connect kids with local history through physical activity.

The program is coordinated by AmeriCorps members Ian Mumpton and Steven Woods with assistance from the Friends of Fort Ontario, Oswego County AmeriCorps, and New York State Parks.

“The kids have a lot of fun with all kinds of activities — stilt races, tug of war, games like bat and trap and croquet,” said Mumpton. “They also get the chance to re-enact historical situations such as sending out scouting patrols, learning how to march and drill with wooden muskets, and building simple fortifications. They have a blast and learn through hands-on activities.”

Woods said, “This is the history that happened in their back yards, literally in many cases. This program gives kids the opportunity for an up close and personal look at life in the 18th and 19th centuries at Fort Ontario. It’s really a unique opportunity.”

The program will feature weekly sessions for a variety of age groups starting July 9 and running until Aug. 24. There is no fee to attend, but pre-registration is required.

No electronic devices are allowed at the program.

Registration opened Monday, May 7. Information on available sessions and registration is available on the fort’s web site, www.fortontario.com or by emailing FOSummerProgram@gmail.com.

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