Like most re-enacting units we draw in many youths, most often boys that are intrigued by the hobby. Let’s face it, in many ways we are all overgrown boys that still enjoy playing army. We remember what it was like with vivid boyish imaginations dreaming of battles in which we faced great odds and acted heroically. Well, we in the 9th Ky welcome our boys and even girls and strive to help them feel a part of the unit every chance we can. We will teach them how to camp, cook on a fire, organize gear, set up tents and many other things that they won’t learn anywhere else - including Boy Scouts. While age restrictions keep us from getting the youths involved at the soldier-level or sometimes even in camps depending on were we are or what we are doing, we try getting them out on the field just as soon and as often as we can. Usually when too young to handle muskets or still too immature they are placed in the rear of the line with the officers to supervise. Here we assign them the task of “runner” or “courier” so they stay behind the line and occasionally are issued an order to run to another officer at some other part of the field to deliver messages. They therefore get to see a battlefield close and take part at some level. They also stuff cartridges into their haversacks and answer the calls for “Ammo!” from members of the 9th in some hot battles by running up and stuffing cartridges into the empty cartridge boxes on the hips of the soldiers in line. We may call them alternately "runners," "couriers", "powder monkeys," or perhaps if helping the surgeon they may be called some sort of medical attendant.
They often can be found running through the manual of arms with the other soldiers carrying light weight toy muskets. This allows them a level of understanding of the Civil War soldier that none of their classmates and few of their teachers ever will have. And, as soon as they are strong enough and mature enough to carry a musket they will be put into line whenever possible to march and form in the line. The first time they are a firing member of the line will be a proud moment in their lives they will always remember.
We do not get as many young ladies in the unit, but some do come in from time to time. They are quite welcome and often sit with the ladies in camp learning camping and cooking and how to sew or knit, etc. In the long hours between activities the kids enjoy playing games together, exploring or socializing. At some events, the young ladies may participate as "ice angels" on the battlefield carrying buckets of ice to the troops and checking the casualties to make sure the men down are o.k. and offer them ice or water.
The 9th Ky is a very family-friendly unit that has several members that literally grew up in the unit. Whenever possible, this unit allows youth and parents of varying degrees of involvement in the hobby to participate.