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The Captain and the Doctor

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Hey, Camp Folks!

A few months back in September, I wrote about a cool activity that’s available at summer camps across the country: Trapshooting. Trap Shooters require focus, patience, and an alert eye in order to be successful shooting a shotgun at a clay targets being launched away from them. Sort of an accidental sport, Trapshooting got its start as a means of practice for bird hunting.

You can check out the Trapshooting Blog post I wrote to learn more about the sport when you click right here. Today’s post, however, is about a legendary Trap Shooter, Captain Bogardus—the wing shot champion of the world.

This sport had been around since the late 1700s—back when real birds were used, but Bogardus took it up in 1868 after the transition to glass balls had been made. Often enough, the glass balls were filled with a colored powder that would really accentuate the visual effect of a direct hit!

Bogardus really made a splash in the Trapshooting world. He went on to win many championships and made a big name for himself as one of the most successful Trap Shooters in the early years of the sport. Enter: Doc Carver. Another Trap Shooter who was already a giant fan of Captain Bogardus by the time he came onto the scene. He had gotten serious about honing his Trapshooting skills around 1875 and made a name for himself just a few years after that.

He reputation rose so steadily that he would soon come to be referred to as "the man who can put a bullet through a silver quarter while the coin is flying through the air."

Carver wanted so badly to compete against his Trap Shoot hero, Captain Bogardus, but he had to wait six years until they would finally be pitted against each other. In the spring of 1883 these two legends came together for a match.

It was a big deal: the two greatest shots going head to head in the worldwide Shooting Championship! They met in Louisville, Kentucky on February 21 of 1883. So much hype and the match was over before you knew it. It was the less-experienced Doc Carver that came out the victor. He won 19 out of 25 matches, claiming the title of Champion Rifle Shot of the World!

Discover your Trapshooting skills and maybe you’ll find that your abilities exceed those who first inspired you! Look into the activities your camp offers or get out to a Trapshooting facility near you and test out your skills to see how much you enjoy it. Have fun out there and, as always, thanks for reading!


- John

Too Spooky

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Hellooooooo, Story Lovers!

On this Blog, we like to zero in on some of the record setters and pioneers of sports, crafts, and other summer camp activities. And, in honor of the upcoming holiday of Halloween, I thought we’d set our scopes on the classic horror writer of the 19th century: Edgar Allan Poe, author of such chilling tales as ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’ and ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’, he was also a poet—perhaps best known for his work, ‘The Raven’.

While people nowadays associate Poe mainly with his tales of terror, he actually wrote a variety of other genres including adventure stories, science fiction, and even comedies! Yet, what he was best known for in his own time were his mystery stories.

Like a true pioneer of the Writing trade, Poe didn’t just write in the genre of mystery—he invented it. He wrote the very first detective fiction in 1841 with "The Murders in the Rue Morgue." It was a success and people nicknamed him ‘The Father of the Detective Story’. Poe began to get recognition just a couple years later for his story ‘The Gold Bug’ that focused on secret codes and hunting for treasure.

A true master of short fiction, Poe not only created the mystery story, but designed the perfect storytelling tactics. For example, Poe contributed the element of the sidekick character—the assistant to the detective character. The detective’s sidekick is really helpful in making the detective look good and add amazement at the work and reasoning he displays to crack the case. Arthur Conan Doyle used the same idea for his characters Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.

So gear up for the haunting holiday on the horizon and peruse some Edgar Allan Poe short stories or poetry. The Raven just may be the most haunting piece of literature there is! And thanks for reading this Blog post! Till next time.


- John

Rock On!

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Hey, Rockers!

Unlike any other sport, Rock Climbing presents challenges to both our physical and mental abilities. It’s an extraordinary test of one’s strength, endurance, agility, balance, and mental control. In order for climbers to reach the summit of their ascensions safely, they must study and train to use proper climbing techniques as well as proper climbing equipment.

Chinese paintings from a little over 2000 years ago depict men climbing a mountain. And cliff-dwelling Anasazi natives in 12th Century America are thought to have been excellent climbers. Early European climbers used rock climbing techniques as a skill required to reach the summit in their mountaineering exploits. But by the 1850s, climbing mountains was transforming from a necessity in travel into a distinct athletic activity!

This is where we meet the hero of our story: an avid climber named John Ball. He’s known for popularizing the Dolomites, a mountain range found in northeastern Italy. Throughout his research of the mountain range and his experiences climbing the mountains there, John founded the Alpine Club and became the first club president in 1857. He was joined by many other climbers who made their first ascents with his guidance.

Among many other accomplishments, John was the first in 1857 to climb a major Dolomites peak (Monte Pelmo). He also traveled in Morocco and South America later on in life and the recorded observations he made throughout his pursuits were published in scientific periodicals.

Not only famous for his Alpine club, John also published in the later 1860s his well-respected work of the Alpine guide book—a result of countless climbs and journeys that produced careful observation that was recorded in clear (and typically entertaining) style.

Since John’s days, Rock Climbing has only become recognized more so as a legitimate sport. In 2016, the International Olympic Committee made a formal announcement that Rock Climbing would be a medal sport in the next summer Olympics (which ended only a few weeks ago). Enjoy your climbing escapades in the future and, as always thanks for reading!


- John

Adventure Island Camp

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Hey, Camp Fans!

Door County was full of summer campers in the 1920s. Chock full of forests, fields, and bays, that Wisconsin State Legislature designated for preservation in 1909, the Peninsula State Park offers a breathtaking view looking northwest: the chain of Strawberry Islands as they skip through the Green Bay water. A world of fun was had here by children in the Midwest area who attended camps in this gorgeous part of beautiful Wisconsin such as the rustic Adventure Island Camp off the shores of Ephraim on the thumb of the state.

Check it out! 

It was a man from Illinois, Charles “Skipper” Kinney who spearheaded a boys camp on the largest of the Strawberry Islands (initially named Big Strawberry Island and renamed Adventure Island) in 1925. He kept dominion over the land and summer operations season after season, and remained true to the original purpose the camp was founded upon—“The Spirit of Adventure which is inherent in practically every boy.”  

Adventure Island Camp was truly a self-made camp. Aside from the cooking, all the work at Adventure Island Camp was done by the campers. They did it all and they did it without electricity or running water. In the very beginning, work included the construction of the camp’s cabins and other structures.

To compensate the boys, Skipper gave them incredible freedom. Every day, he would ask them individually what they wanted to do for the day and, as you weren’t going to kill yourself doing it, he provided the material and guidance for them to achieve their goals.  

The 7 to 14 year old boys would venture out on solo treks for overnights in the woods or build their own wooden kayaks. One year, the kids constructed their own Viking ship and named it ‘Serpent of the Sea’. They took it on a five-day cruise, a voyage off to distant lands like Escanaba and Marinette!

To make the freedom that much freer, the boys could even bring their dogs for the summer. The freedoms taught the campers invaluable lessons. They found that they were ‘free’ not to do their dishes, but then must eat on dirty plates. They were ‘free’ to stay up at night, but had to be up and at ‘em with the sun.

With further establishment in later days, the camp came to offer a baseball league, stamp club, journalism, orchestra, and shooting range to expand the activities, the boys created for themselves. A true inspiration to the very heart of why we have summer camp, the Skipper was a wonderful influence on the youth of his day. The camp stayed in operation until 1952.

There were a handful of other historic camps that operated in close proximity to Adventure Island such as Meenahga Girls camp and the Cherry Camp. I’ll cover these camps and more in future Blog posts. And, as always, thanks for reading, Camp Fans!


- John

On the Run

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Hey, Runners!

A fantastic activity that plenty are very passionate about, Track (also known as Cross Country or…Running) is a competitive sport that’s based in mimicry of predators in high-speed pursuit of their prey. It wasn't called Track or Cross Country to start. it went by 'Hare and Hound'. It originated during the 1800s in England with at least one runner taking the role of the Hare and getting a head start, and another runner or more acting as the Hound and chasing after the prey.


Alterations of the game involved the initial runner dropping pieces of paper or other markers on a random course and the hunter would have to TRACK the prey. This came to be known as ‘The Paper Chase’. Nobody really knows who invented these games. They just got started among kids of a neighborhood who were building upon the most basic of childhood games: Tag.

Public schools started holding events of these games, the first one being Rugby School in 1837. They called it the Crick Run. Soon enough Oxford and Cambridge Universities joined in on the fun and the popularity soared. Within four decades, England had officialized their National Cross-Country Championship in which the game became a long distance race along a course that was laid out in advance.

While we owe the invention of ‘Hare and Hound’ as well as ‘The Paper Chase’ to kid’s games, the United States owes its interest in Track to one New Yorker named William C. Vosburgh. It was William who got wind of this English Sport. He took a great interest in it and introduced it to schoolboards of his local community.

The same as England, it didn’t take long for the popularity of Track to rise here in the states—plus it was starting out as in a much more official capacity than its beginnings overseas. In 1887, just ten years’ time, the National Cross-Country Association was founded in the United States and the first championship event was held.

It wasn’t long before Cross-Country Running was offered at Harvard in the Fall Semester as a training event for Track and Field Distance Runners. Plenty of other colleges followed Harvard’s example. City College of New York, Cornell University, and the University of Pennsylvania were the initial three to take part in the first intercollegiate meet in 1890.

Let Mr. Vosburgh teach us all a lesson about speaking up when we see something we like. Chances are other folks will like it too! Enjoy learning the ins and outs of Track this summer and, as always, thanks for reading!


- John