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Booger Champ Bill Watterson

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Hey, Comic Strip Lovers!

Interest in Comic Strips has held the fascination of children and adults alike throughout the decades. Summer camps know how cool comic strips are so most are sure to offer a comics program. When I set my mind to feature a Pioneer or Record Setter from the world of Comic Strips, one name immediately comes to mind: Bill Watterson. For 10 years, from 1985 to 1995, Mr. Watterson captured the essence along with the magic of childhood in his strip ‘Calvin and Hobbes’.

One record he holds is the first cartoonist to use the word ‘booger’ in a newspaper comic strip—a record he expressed that some historian would someday confirm—you’re welcome Mr. Watterson.

We’ll get to more about his record setting in a minute, but first, a personal word about my connection to this strip. As I write this post, I look up at the four panels of ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ wall art I have above my computer and recall fondly all the great adventures I went on with these two lovable characters!

His artwork has an intimate attitude about it, possibly because of where he drew his inspiration. Hobbes, Calvin’s stuffed tiger, was fashioned after Watterson’s cat, Sprite. And he’s said that in the past that he never thought about all the people he was reaching with his comic but his main inspiration for writing ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ was to entertain his wife, Melissa.

Bill Watterson is a hero of mine for his consistent refusal throughout the years to license ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ merchandise (despite nonstop proposals for toys, animated series, and more). He never took the ticket and his strip lives on transcending the generations!

One last interesting point to make before we move on is that Mr. Watterson’s middle name is the same as the town where Everything Summer Camp headquarters is located—Boyd. His full name is William Boyd Watterson II.

And now back to his achievements in the comic strip world! In just his second year of writing ‘Calvin and Hobbes’, Bill won the Reuben Award for ‘Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year’. That year, he became the youngest person to ever win the award! He won the award yet again in 1988.

For a strip that ran in only 35 newspapers to begin with, it grew to over 2400 newspapers at the strip’s peak! Bill’s work reached hundreds of millions of readers by newspaper alone and who knows how many by his book collections! There are plenty of book collections that explore all 3,160 published strips of ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ and the sales of these books are in the tens of millions!

Easily the reigning king of comic strips, Bill Watterson, through his work, has worked his way into plenty of people’s hearts. Be sure to check out ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ if you’ve never given it much attention before and let it inspire you to make your own cartoon creation. As always, thanks for reading! See you in the funny papers.

 

- John

 

 

 

 


Just Kick It

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Hey, Kick Baseballers!

Kickball is a pretty big staple to any given recess session, gym class, and summer camp activity! Loved by many kids as their twist on America’s favorite pastime with ‘a little kick’ to it, Kickball came along about six or seven decades after the rise of baseball’s popularity in America. And it was all thanks to one man who invented it in 1917, named Nicholas C. Seuss.

Mr. Nicholas Seuss (who has no relation to Dr. Seuss) was the Supervisor of the Cincinnati Park Playgrounds in Cincinnati, Ohio. He saw kids in the park playing baseball despite being short on equipment. After all, back in those days, it was uncommon for everyone to have their own catching mitt, batt, and ball. Nicholas wondered how you might cut back on the equipment needed to play the game.

He introduced a new, oversized baseball to the park and taught the kids there a game he called ‘Kick Baseball’. It only took three years for it to grow in popularity and it spread like wildfire! By 1921, it started getting used by phy. ed. teachers in public schools in order to teach the basic rules of baseball to young students.

Through the early 20s, Kick Baseballs simply borrowed a ball from soccer or volleyball. And the rules weren’t quite the same as they are now to begin with; there used to be no pitcher—the ball was simply set in the ‘home base’ area waiting to for the next player to come along for their turn to kick. But as time went on, the name got shortened to ‘Kickball’ and changes were made to make it even more like baseball.

If you’re a fan of Kickball, get a group of your friends together for a friendly neighborhood game and let them all know about the inventor of the game, Nicholas C. Seuss. As always, thanks for reading, everybody! Till next time.

 

- John


Michael! Michael! How's Your Garden Grow?

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Hey, Gardeners!

This age-old skill of bringing order to Nature is one which has been passed down from generation to generation as an essential means of domestic living! Understanding how to work alongside Nature to reap the nourishment of the Earth is an incredibly rewarding experience that teaches us patience, diligence, and responsibility!

With the centralization of food from industrial farming and mass transportation, gardening is no longer considered such an essential part of living but more of a hobby. But with the bombardment of genetically modified food, the interest in personal produce farming is increasing in the modern day.

One name you can attach to this rise in gardening is Michael Pollan, a food-focused journalist who’s published a series of books about where our food comes from such as ‘The Omnivore’s Dilemma’, ‘In Defense of Food’, and a number of others. He also wrote a letter to the previous president Barack Obama which was titled ‘Farmer-in-Chief’, pushing heavily for the decentralization of food, advocating more support in local farming and backyard gardening.

Through his journalistic approach toward the food we eat, Michael Pollan has been able to educate his readers in his fight for common sense that Nature’s provisions are what’s healthiest and that we ought to resist the corporate takeover of farming with genetically modified seeds.

A lot of work goes into a garden. You have to turn the soil, plant your seeds, consistently water the plants and pull out the weeds, harvest what you grow, and maybe more if you had to create your garden plot or other variables. But the satisfaction of enjoying the fruits of your own labor is insurmountable by any gourmet meal served to you at a fancy restaurant.

Check out some of Michael Pollan’s work if you’re passionate about food and you’re up to the reading challenge! Enjoy working in the peacefulness of your garden and, as always, thanks for reading!

 

- John


George Sappenfield and Disc Golf's Camp Connection

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Hey, Frisbee Fanatics!

Disc Golf is a game of extreme command and skill. Requiring the controlled throw of a flying disc which has replaced the club and small, dimpled ball of regular Golf, Disc Golf is typically seen as a youthful alternative to the age-old sport of Golf. Combining the groomed outdoor escape and the rules and scorekeeping of Golf, Disc Golf and one of the sports founders, George Sappenfield were the focus of a recent post about the pioneers of particular camp activities.

You can learn all about the history of this sport as well as the involvement of Mr. Sappenfield and summer camp itself by clicking here to read that Blog post.

Just the same as Golf, you start each “hole” of a Disc Golf course with a lengthy drive, typically going for great distance with a metal chain basket to catch a flying disc instead of a cup in the ground. Each element of the game requires its own set of skills to sharpen from long drives, to mid-range shots, and the light tosses of short game.

Unlike the goal of many sports, Golf victories are focused the player with the lowest score. The score is tracking how many strokes of the golf club each player takes to get the ball from the tee into the hole. Just the same, Disc Golf scorekeeping counts who many times players throw their flying discs. The player with the least amount of throws in the end is the winner!

If you play Disc Golf at camp this summer, enjoy this great game which has become an increasingly popular camp activity since the 1960s. If you love this game, find a summer camp that offers this for a camp activity and enjoy playing it with some other friends. As always, thanks for reading, Camp Folks!

 

- John


Golf Minus the Clubs

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Hey, Camp People!

An unexpected camp activity that’s history is shrouded in a bit of mystery is the alternative to golf called Frisbee or Disc Golf, also known as ‘Frolf’ to some. Learn how this very unofficial sport gained its popularity and officiality. How did the age-old sport of golf lead to an alternative that replaced the clubs and small, dimpled ball with a flying disc and the holes with chained baskets?

For several decades, forms of Disc Golf were played with whatever makeshift equipment folks had around—tossing the tin lids onto the tops of garbage cans. Canadian kids in the 1920’s called this Tin Lid Golf. But it only started developing an official backing when a summer camp counselor named George Sappenfield got the idea for a ‘camp’ version of golf that the kids could play.

As forms of this game were randomly found being played throughout the early 1900s, the game’s stricter parallel to golf rules seems to have suddenly started sprouting in many places, by many people independently. For instance, Rice University students in Texas started tournaments aiming discs at trees for targets.

It was the summer of 1965 when George Sappenfield found himself on a golf course during his college break before heading off to be a counselor at camp. The idea suddenly came to him that the kids at camp could play a version of golf with a flying disc aimed at designated targets.

The invention of the plastic flying disc was marketed as the now well-known name Frisbee by the Wham-o Manufacturing Company and was gaining popularity. George hatched the idea to contact Wham-o Manufacturing to suggest the creation of a Frisbee Golf Contest. This would lead to some of the first mentions of the sport Disc Golf and Mr. Sappenfield solidified himself as one of the earliest coordinators of Disc Golf who spread its popularity across the West Coast.

Enjoy playing Disc Golf during your summer camp experience if your camp offers it! And if they don’t—just bring your own Frisbee Disc and shoot at whatever targets you decide upon like they did in the old days! As always, thanks for reading!

 

- John