It’s hard to believe that the OCHS Summer Camp is over, meaning summer vacation is just days away from being over, too. We loved hosting Osceola County students this summer and look forward to doing it all over again in another, um, 180 school days. Until then, read about our final week at summer camp, and one of our favorites, History’s Mysteries Week where students…
Went on a hunt for Bone Mizell’s Lost Treasure
Bone Mizell is one of Florida’s most famous Cracker Cowboys. He was born in 1863 and from an early age proved he was meant to roam the wilds of Florida. Bone became a famous rancher of cattle and was very successful at selling the cattle to the Spanish. The only problem with this is that Bone was selling other people’s cattle and not his own. People loved Bone and often could not wait to hear about some of the practical jokes he would play on others. There is a tale about Bone selling cattle and earning hundreds of dollars in gold from the Spanish, which would have made him a very rich man. However it came up missing and no one knows what ever happened to the money. Some say Bone spent it, others believe it was stolen, some think it was lost, while others think Bone hid it and it has never been found. Despite what happened to the gold Bone died in 1921, at the age of 58 and without a penny to his name. Our campers found an old letter from Bone during History’s Mysteries week, with a clue to finding his treasure. This started a multi-step treasure hunt ending in the finding of Bone’s lost treasure!
Searched for Florida’s Skunk Ape
For thousands of years, tales of mysterious creatures roaming North America have been passed down from generation to generation. The legend of Bigfoot, especially, is seen over and over again throughout many different cultures. Florida’s resident Bigfoot is called the Swamp Ape. Stories relating to Skunk Ape encounters may go back to early Indian legends, which speak of giants living along the Kissimmee River and the “Sand People” and “Mangrove People.” Some believe these legends were describing skunk apes. Dr. Morgan Jackson, a professional cryptozoologist, taught our campers all about the characteristics of the Swamp Ape, where it lives and how to find it. Then, armed with their Bigfoot hunting guides, our campers took to the woods to see if they could find conclusive evidence of a Swamp Ape living in the area. They saw footprints and nests and did Bigfoot calls to try to lure in any nearby Swamp Ape. A few campers claim to have glimpsed one far off into the distance!
Investigated Ghost Stories
There are many tall tales and legends about Florida’s past. St. Augustine, for example, is steeped in history and folk lore. Even here, in Osceola County, there are many tales of haunted places and ghost encounters. At camp, we hosted real life ghost hunters from GhostStop. The ghost hunters taught us about the equipment needed to detect ghosts, which included ghost meters, ghost scanners, sound recorders and video cameras. We also learned about local ghost stories throughout Osceola County. Then, campers had a chance to make their own friendly ghosts.
Got soaked during Water Day
During every week of camp, we celebrate summer in true Florida fashion with a “Water Day”. The highlight of the day is canoeing on historic Shingle Creek. Shingle Creek was home to many of the first peoples of Osceola County, including Native Americans and pioneers. During canoeing, campers have a chance to see what old Florida was really like. Cypress trees line the creek and animals such as egrets, turtles, ospreys, and more can be glimpsed by sharp-eyed campers. The day continued with water games including a water balloon toss, wet t-shirt relay and other fun games.
Had a WILD time at Wild Florida
Our campers made a return trip to Wild Florida, where they got to experience the natural wonders of our county. The trip started out with an airboat tour on Lake Cypress. While exploring this 100,000 acre wetland site, campers spotted alligators, eagles, herons and much more! We were also treated to a special alligator presentation and learned all there is to know about Florida’s biggest reptile. To end the trip, we toured Wild Florida’s wildlife park. Here, campers met many different species of animals, both native and exotic. This included everything from watusi cattle and zebras to sloths and foxes. Leo, a Red Ruffed Lemur, was a crowd favorite! Adding this in as a return field trip during this year’s summer camp was a great idea.
For one last look at all we did during this year’s summer camp, check out our video collage…