Experience History in Follow the North Star Program
Monday, November 14, 2011 by Hamilton County Tourism
This weeks guest blogger, Jennifer Stringer, shares why you and your teen should take part in the Follow the North Star program. Powerful. Moving. Memorable.Those are the words I would use if I only had three words to describe the Follow the North Star program at Conner Prairie. Follow the North Star is an immersive experience in which you take on the role of a runaway slave on the Underground Railroad. My then 13-year-old son and I took part in the program last year. I wanted my son to experience history instead of just reading about it. I wanted him to have a better understanding of slavery. As a mother, an African-American mother, I felt that it was important that he understand this dark chapter in our nation's history. I remember saying to my son before the program began, just stick close to me and we'll be fine. In the next few minutes, we were separated. I realized a slave mother long ago probably said those same words to her child. That's when the program became more real. I won't share too many details in this post because I think it's important that you experience Follow the North Star for yourself. You will walk in the cold, you will feel unsure of what to do and who to trust. You will meet with those who will help you and those who won't. At the end, your modern-day group will survive the events of the night but you will learn about what really happened to fugitive slaves. The Conner Prairie staff lead a discussion and answer questions after the program. I found the discussion was a catalyst for a good conversation on the way home, and my son and I find ourselves talking about the program a year later. If you have a teen, this is a powerful program to attend together. You can call (317) 776-6006 to reserve your space for remaining programs November 17-19. Group, individuals and schools can register. Cost: $20/non-member ($17/member).