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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

Robert 'Grandmaster' Fischer

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Hey, Camp People!

A beloved camp activity among those of the more intellectual persuasion is the ancient game of Chess. This isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned Chess on this Blog; you can learn a little more about it and some other old games by clicking here. But today, I want to learn about the biggest name associated with Chess—Robert James Fischer (a.k.a. Bobby Fischer). Having passed away a little over a decade ago, this post goes out to commemorate this proclaimed grandmaster of Chess.

The early teenage years brought big changes to his world. Earning his successThe rarely defeated Bobby Fischer, Chess legend! and fame early on, Bobby was only 13 when he won an epic game of Chess that was so intense it was categorized under what they, in the Chess world, call A Brilliancy. This game went down in history as ‘The Game of the Century’. One year later, he the Chess Champion of the United States. And the year after that, he was crowned grandmaster (the youngest of the time) and he became the youngest World Championship candidate.

He was 20 when he dominated the US Championship, winning 11 consecutive games—a total shutout and the only perfect run in the entire history of the tournament! And by 27, he won 20 consecutive games in the Interzonal Tournament of 1970!

What started this indomitable performance from Bobby? Well, he grew up in poverty and board games were a good way to pass the time for cheap. In 1949, Bobby was six years old. He and his sister journeyed into their local candy store with a small amount to spend. They ended up purchasing instructions for some old Chess pieces they had found.  

It wasn’t long before his sister lost interest, but Bobby only got more and more obsessed. He didn’t have anyone else to play with, but that didn’t stop him! He’d play games against himself. It was that year that his family saved enough money to summer vacation at Patchogue, Long Island in New York. While on this trip, chance had it that Bobby found a book of old chess games.

He studied this book night and day. And thanks to his diligent study of this game that he found such a passion for, he came to be considered the greatest Chess player of all time! Are you passionate about Chess like Bobby Fischer was? Devote yourself to the things you’re passionate about who knows where it can take you! And, as always, thanks for reading!


- John