Posts Tagged ‘Coach Campbell’

Down in the Coal Mines at 9

Monday, July 24th, 2017

“Hey Coach,”said Hector, “how was your vacation? Do anything cool?”Coach Campbell answered, “Hey Hector, you bet I did! I got to go down in a coal mine and see what it was like to work in the coal mines a long, long time ago. Like 100 plus years ago. It was dark, and wet, and cold too. We went down almost 300 feet underground!”

boy driving mule wagon in coal mines

Hector looked puzzled. He asked, “What’s coal? What is a coal miner?”

Coach smiled and said, “Good questions. Let’s see. Coal is a black rock that burns at a very high temperature. Much higher than burning wood. So, that made coal important as it was the fuel to power the engines of the railroads and factories a long time ago. Today coal is burned in some places to make electricity. Now a coal miner, that is the person who goes way underground to get the coal out from under the mountains. It is a very dangerous job.”

Hector got all excited, saying, “Wow, you know coach, my grandfather sometimes tells me I am lucky I don’t have to go down in the coal mines like his dad did when he was a boy. Are these the coal mines my grandfather is talking about?”

coal mines

“Probably, yes, answered Coach. “Way back when young boys, as young as nine years old maybe, went to work in the coal mines. Some were messengers, others worked the air doors – nippers they called them. They would open and close doors so that air always made it into the mine. Some worked with the mules which pulled the wagons of coal out of the mines.

boys working in coal mines

The youngest were “Breaker Boys” – they had to pull pieces of slate rock out of the coal as it rushed past them down a slide. Tough work. Lots of cut fingers.”

“Oh boy, Grandpa’ is right, said Hector.“I sure am glad I don’t have to go work in the coal mines like those kids had to work. Ugh. School doesn’t sound so bad anymore. Better than the coal mines. What about the girls? Did they work the coal mines too?”

Oh no, said coach, “they did not work the coal mines, but they did work. Many of them became “Bobbin’ Girls.” I can tell you more about them next time. OK? Right now, we gotta’ get moving. It’s time for camp.”

Source:

Ned Campbell, author

Ned M Campbell is a West Point graduate and former U.S. Army Officer, who also teaches United States history at a public high school in Brooklyn, NY. He is a published writer, and a volunteer contributor to “Can Do” Street blog for kids and parents. In addition, he is the voice of Coach Campbell in the “Can Do” Street programs.

 

 

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The Indoor-Outdoor Camp Overnight

Thursday, July 6th, 2017

camp tentThe “Can Dos” had been looking forward to the camp overnight for weeks.

They were ready to sleep outdoors, in pup tents, just like the big kids do. Well, not exactly like the big kids do. Their camp overnight was going to be in the small park behind the “Can Do” Street Community Center, not in the woods. But still, it would be dark and they would have a camp fire and sit around toasting marshmallows and telling stories.

Yep, that was the plan. Then came the rain. There went the outdoor overnight; in came the indoor camp overnight.

Coach Campbell, who was in charge of the overnight, and a few of the camp counselors helped the “Can Dos” bring their gear indoors and set up their tents in the community center gym.

The “Can Dos” were disappointed and complaining about their bad luck. Coach Campbell had them stop what they were doing and form a sitting circle, on the floor, in the middle of the gym.

“Hey,” said Coach, “What is all the whining and complaining about? Are you going to let a little rain ruin a fun time with your friends”?

Hector was the first to answer, “We can’t toast marshmallows at an indoor camp. Then Annie said,”We can’t sit around a campfire.” Then Willie, who sometimes is a Gloomy Gus, said, “We might as well go home, there’s nothing to do here.”

Coach Campbell shook his head. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing! “I thought you were all “Can D0″ kids, kids who were positive and could make the best of things when they didn’t go exactly as planned.  Doesn’t anyone have any ideas about how to have fun at an indoor camp overnight.”?

Jay raised his hand and said, “We may not be able to sit around a fire, but, we can sit in a circle, like we are doing now. We can turn on the flashlights, that we brought with us for our outdoor camp overnight, and turn out the lights. Then we can tell campfire stories.”

Coach was pleased to see that most of the “Can Dos” were nodding in approval at Jay’s idea. With that, Bobby raised his hand and said, “We can use our flashlights to make hand puppet images on the wall. We can all focus our flashlights on the same place and each of us can take turns making a hand puppet on the wall.” There were more nods of approval.

Hector was still concerned about food at the indoor camp, asking “What are we going to eat?”

Coach Campbell laughed and answered,” We are going to play grab bag snack and trade.” The “Can Dos” all stared at him and Nellie called out,” How do you play that ?” Coach pulled a big bag out of his large camp bag and said, “I came prepared for a change in plans. I listened to the weather report this morning, then I went to the store and got a bunch of healthy, individual size snacks and put them in this bag. There are bags of air-popped corn, pretzels, 100 calorie oatmeal raisin cookies and other goodies.

When it is your turn, you reach in the bag and take one snack. When everyone has picked a snack the trading can begin. If you don’t get a snack you like or can trade for one, you can put it back and grab for a different snack. “

So, that is what they did; sat in a circle, grabbed and traded snacks, then ate them sharing camp fire stories and making hand puppets on the wall. Before they knew it, it was time for sleep.

Coach and the counselors walked the “Can Dos” to the restrooms before they got into their tents for sleeping.

Soon there was no more giggling or whispering. The “Can Dos” were asleep.

The next morning, Coach called everyone into the camp circle and asked if the “Can Dos” had a good time at the camp overnight. They all nodded yes.

Then Maria raised her hand and said, “Not only was it fun, but there were no bugs, and no sounds from critters that live outdoors to scare us at the indoor camp!

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The Lost Relay Race

Sunday, June 25th, 2017

Jay runs relay raceJay got home from visiting his grandparents just in time to be part of the annual camp relay race.

Jay was the fastest runner of all the “Can Dos.” Willie, Bobby, and Hector were so glad to see him. Jay was going to be the fourth member of the “Can Do’ Street Community Center relay race team. They really needed Jay if they were going to win the relay race. They were racing against a four-boy team from Buddiville, the next town over from “Can Do”Street.

There was a lot riding on the race.”Can Do” Street teams had won for the past four years and year five meant a cash prize of $500 to support programs at the “Can Do” Street Community Center. Willie, Bobby, Hector and Jay wanted to be able to win the prize for “Can Do” Street and for the Community Center.

Willie, Bobby and Hector met every morning for weeks before the race to practice under the watchful eye of Coach Campbell. Jay ran track each day, on the Indian reservation, while he was visiting his grandparents.

The day of the race was clear and sunny. It was not too warm. It was a good day for a race.

The stands were packed with parents and grandparents and kids from “Can Do” Street and Buddiville there to cheer on their teams.

The four-boy team from Buddiville arrived on time. The two teams met, shook hands and took their places on the track.

Hector was the first to run. He made good time in the first leg of the race. He was ahead of the boy from Buddiville when he reached the spot in the track where Bobby would take over and race the second leg of the race.

Bobby ran as fast as he could, but not fast enough to reach where Willie would take over the third leg of the race. The boy from the Buddiville team running against Bobby was really fast! Wow, could he run!  He got to his team member faster than Bobby got to Willie.

When Willie started out on the third leg of the race, the boy from Buddiville was in the lead. Try as he might, he couldn’t catch up with him and then pass him.

When Willie got to Jay, the boy from Buddiville was already way ahead. Jay ran harder and faster than he ever did before, but the boy from Buddiville was also a good runner and had a large lead over Jay to begin with.

The team from Buddiville won. Willie, Bobby, Hector and Jay felt so bad, but they practiced good sportsmanship and shook the hands of the boys from Buddiville and congratulated them on their win.

Coach Campbell followed the “Can Do” team into the locker room and had them sit down on a bench so he could speak with them .

“Did you all try your best, run your hardest, run your fastest?” Coach looked at the boys after asking his questions, waiting for them to answer.The boys all nodded yes. “Than there is nothing more you could have done,” said Coach.

“But we didn’t win,” said Hector. “Sometimes our best isn’t enough,” said Coach. “Sometimes the other team is better that us, faster than us, and they win. Sometimes we are better than the other team and we win. That’s just the way it is.”

“It hurts to lose,” said Bobby. “Yes, it does,” said Coach, “But remember, you are not losers…you lost a race, to a team that could run faster than you, that’s all. You’ve won before and you will win again.”

The boys sat quietly for awhile, letting what Coach said sink in, then they got up and followed the Coach outside to joining their family and friends for a barbeque.  To their surprise, the crowd started clapping when they saw them and yelling out, “Good race, good team work, good try.”

Willie, Hector, Bobby and Jay learned something that race day; they learned that winning isn’t always possible, but trying hard, working together and being good sports is what it is all about.

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Brushing Up On Summer Safety

Friday, June 2nd, 2017

safetyEach year, every boy and girl attending camp at the Community Center has to take a summer safety course taught by Coach Campbell.

Some of the “Can Dos” don’t see the need to take the course again if they already took it before.

When Coach Campbell came into the room to begin the course, he saw some familiar faces and said, “I recognize some of you from last year’s class. You are probably wondering why you have to take the summer safety class again. Well, before I tell you why, let’s take a pop quiz on summer safety and see how much we remember from last year’s class.”

Coach Campbell handed out the summer safety quiz and the room got quiet while the boys and girls took the quiz. When it was over, Coach had each Can Do exchange his or her quiz with the person sitting next to them for grading.

Well, only one person got all the questions right. You guessed it…Orrie got all the questions right!

Then Coach asked, “Do you see why it is important to attend a summer safety class every year? We may forget an important safety fact from year to year; a safety fact that could save our lives or keep us from getting really sick.”

Here is the quiz. Let’s see how you do.Ask your parent to grade you on your summer safety knowledge.

1. Before going out in the sun, what should we put on?

2. Why should we wear long pants and inclosed shoes when walking in the woods?

3. When do we have to wear a life-jacket?

4. What is the best beverage to drink in the summer?

5. When is it not safe to go swimming?

6. If food has been out in the sun for over an hour, is it still okay to eat?

7. When riding your bike or scooter, what do you have to wear for protection?

8. To be safe around water, what should we learn how to do?

9. If you see or hear someone yelling for help in the water, what should you do?

10. Is holding a kid’s head underwater, just for fun, an okay idea?

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Be a Better Reader by Reading to the Dogs

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

readingCoach Campbell is cleaning up after a rec center intramural game, Bobby is helping. Coach Campbell asks, “So, how is school going? Passing all your classes?”

Bobby answers, “Yeah, but I am almost failing English. I am having a hard time reading out loud. I get all nervous, and I am afraid the other kids will readinglaugh at me. The out loud reading is a big part of the class grade. I want to get better, but I just get so nervous.”

Coach answers, “How about you practice reading out loud? Like part of your homework. Just something you do every day to get better, like practicing basketball made you a better player.”

Bobby asks,But where do I practice? There are always people around me. Plus, I also don’t like being all alone.”

Coach Campbell answers, “What if there was a place where I could guarantee not a single person would be around to hear you reading aloud, or laugh at you, and, you wouldn’t be lonely? Would that work?” Bobby says, “Yeah, sure – but, where is that place?”

Coach Campbell says, “The local animal shelter. You can sit and read to the dogs all day long if you want. You can read the same sentence again and again if you need to, the dogs won’t mind. They will be happy for the company.”

Bobby answers,Wow, that sounds cool. Yeah, let’s go THERE!”

     reading       

Story by: Ned Campbell (voice of Coach Campbell, “Can Do” Street),  teacher and wrestling coach in Brooklyn, NY

 

Parent Note: For more information about children reading to dogs, check out:

  • Children read aloud to dogs

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/children-read-aloud-to-dogs/2012/12/27/9cc2a34a-4c55-11e2-8758-b64a2997a921_story.html?utm_term=.99fd7bf7b55e

A growing number of libraries and some schools in the region are inviting volunteers to bring their dogs in to help children learn, hoping the pets will calm children who are struggling, excite those who are bored, and help kids equate reading with fun.

  • Children ‘Deck the Howls’ at shelter’s reading to dogs holiday event

http://www.ajc.com/lifestyles/pets/children-deck-the-howls-shelter-reading-dogs-holiday-event/XU04wvCcDMTdw4AFw0J7pK/

This is open to children ages 5-11 who wanted to come to the shelter and read holiday stories to the adoptable dogs. According to the shelter’s YouTube page, the kids made toys, treats and pillows at the event, and helped tuck the dogs in for the night.

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