Since 1998, ProCamps Worldwide has bridged the gap between pro athletes and their fans with a variety of instructional youth camps and fantasy camps for adults. More than 100 professional and Olympic gold-medal athletes have lent their wisdom during camps conducted across the country. For instance, the NBA's leading scorer, Kevin Durant, dishes details on his skills at a camp in Oklahoma, and Super Bowl champion and Packers linebacker Clay Matthews teaches the careful choreography of backfield disruption in Wisconsin. At fantasy camps, John Calipari and Bill Self—the two coaches who squared off in 2012's NCAA title game—give campers tours of their programs' hallowed halls.
On the evening of November 30, 1864, the town of Franklin, Tennessee, bore witness to more than five hours of carnage as Confederate forces under the command of General John Bell Hood assaulted an entrenched corps of Federal troops led by General John M. Schofield. The heaviest fighting entailed a frontal attack on the Federal lines—incorporating about 20,000 soldiers on each side, or more soldiers than Pickett's Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg. General Hood hoped this attack would dislodge the Federal forces and that he would be able to eventually recapture Nashville.
Over the course of the next five hours, this charge resulted in a staggering number of casualties and General Schofield steadily withdrew his forces toward Nashville, leaving behind a battle-scarred town as well as a battered Confederate force. Today, the Battle of Franklin Trust allows visitors to learn more about this key battle by visiting and taking guided tours of several sites that played integral roles in the events that took place on and around November 30, 1864.
The Carter House served as the command post for General Jacob D. Cox, a Federal officer tasked with overseeing the construction of defensive positions as the Confederate forces advanced. These defenses were constructed within 300 feet of the home, and guests have the opportunity to explore the grounds as well as the home, including the basement where the Carter family and roughly two dozen civilians sought shelter from the battle being fought outside their doors.
One of those civilians was Albert Lotz, whose own home still stands 110 steps away from the Carter residence. The Lotz House bears its own battle scars, too, including a charred indentation in the wood flooring that was caused by an errant cannonball.
Located one mile away from the two houses, the McGavock family's Carnton Plantation also welcomes guests, providing them with tours of the site that served as the area's largest field hospital after the fighting ceased. The plantation features two acres of land that the McGavocks offered as the final burial site for approximately 1,500 Confederate soldiers who died at the Battle of Franklin, making it the largest privately owned military cemetery in the nation.
J.T. Thompson gets pretty excited about his own little slice of American history. He serves as the executive director of the Lotz House Museum, a commemorative collection of memorabilia and actual damage from the Battle of Franklin, a Civil War conflict that raged on November 30, 1864. At his museum, the history hardly stays confined to display cases. Instead, it is in the very woodwork. "Today, visitors can still see the bloodstains on the floors from where cannonballs hitting the house came to rest," Mr. Thompson says, in the same breath as mentioning "what many in the antique world describe as the finest collection of American-made 1820-to-1860 antiques… in the Southeast!"
Perhaps more compelling than the gruesome imagery or literal relics of the era, however, is the story of the Lotz family themselves, a mother, father, and three children younger than 9. They survived the battle based on their wits, turning their home into a hospital in the wake of the conflict. While their house stands virtually unchanged to this day, their personal lives altered course in astounding ways, most noticeable in the well-documented journeys of the Lotz children.
Whether you know it or not, you've probably already spent some time preparing for the 5K Foam Fest. Perhaps you've zoomed down a playground slide? Or dived onto a backyard Slip 'N Slide? Grownup versions of these childhood challenges make up many of the obstacles in this 5K race, challenging contestants to slide down a 40-foot "Death Drop" and skid across an impressive 50-foot Slip 'N Slide.
Running through them all are pits and pools of foam and mud, as far as the eye can see. Thankfully, the challenges bring ample rewards at the finish line—namely a medal, a beer, unlimited temporary tattoos, and still more messy activities. Away from the race, participants can leap into foam pits while kids bound inside bounce houses, gleefully imagining what kind of rug would really tie the place together.
Loosing an arrow for the first time can be nerve wracking. But with an Olympic trainer on your side, it can also be exhilarating. The Archery Den's indoor and outdoor ranges provide a safe place for archers to shoot and learn first-hand, and also supplies a huge inventory of equipment and accessories. During lessons, students of all experience levels will get accustomed to bows and shooting, getting hands-on experience and further inspiration to take down the neighbor's backyard blimp.
Slowly tiptoeing through a thicket of greenery, a warrior stumbles upon a stack of blocks hidden among glyphs. Lost in an attempt to decipher the etchings, he fails to hear the enemy approach, who then fires his weapon into the warrior's back. The warrior emerges unscathed, though his team has taken a hit in this round of tag in Laser Chase's 4,000-square-foot jungle-themed arena. Between 15-minute laser-blasting bouts, visitors can gather in the viewing area to watch other contests or amble into the arcades for battles on the small screen. Alongside open play sessions, Laser Chase also hosts birthdays, corporate cage fights, field trips, and gatherings with various party packages available.