Posts Tagged ‘Coach Campbell’

The Piggy Bank that Almost Wasn’t

Thursday, December 7th, 2017

piggy bank

As Willie reached for his piggy bank from off the shelf in his bedroom, he thought to himself, “It’s December 1st. I need to see how much money I have for Christmas gifts for Grandma Hattie, Grandpa Dooley, my mom and my sister, Nellie.”

The piggy bank wasn’t just a piggy bank for saving loose change made by helping with extra chores at home and for the neighbors. No, it was special because it was a gift!

Last year, for Christmas, Grandpa Dooley made Willie and Nellie each a piggy bank so the could save for Christmas, 2015. He made them in a pottery class at the recreation center. Grandpa Dooley was so proud of his work! He beamed with pride when Nellie and Willie opened the  piggy bank gifts and saw how pleased they were to receive them.

Willie shook the piggy bank; it sounded like there was a lot of money in there!. He turned the bank over and tried to turn the nob that would open the bank; nothing happened. It wouldn’t open. He tried and tried, but he couldn’t get it open. First Willie was mad, then he was scared. How was he going to get it open? He had seen lots of pictures of kids hitting their piggy banks open with a hammer, but how would he explain to his grandpa that he broke his piggy bank and could never use it again?

Just then, Nellie came into Willie’s room and said “You need someone stronger than you to open your piggy bank. I got Coach Campbell to open my bank.” Willie’s face brightened. “Good idea, Nellie, I’ll bring my bank to school tomorrow and ask Coach.”

The next day, after gym class, Willie asked Coach to open his bank for him. Coach tried and tried to open the bank, but no luck. Willie was really upset. He asked Coach Campbell, “What am I going to do? I’ve been saving all year. If I don’t get this bank open, I won’t have any money for Christmas presents.”

Coach could see Willie was fighting back tears. “Willie,” said Coach, “there is only one thing you can do. Go to your grandpa and show him how you can’t open the piggy bank. Be sure to tell him I tried and I couldn’t do it either. Be sure to tell him how much the bank means to you and you didn’t want to break it open to get the money out even though you need the money for Christmas gifts.”

When Willie got home, Grandpa Dooley was reading his paper in his favorite chair. He went up to his grandpa, cleared his throat, and told him about his problem with the piggy bank and how he needed the money. Grandpa listened quietly, then he got up, went into his tool box and got out the hammer.

“No Grandpa, don’t break it You made it!” Then Willie started to cry. “Willie boy, you did chores, and saved all year to be able to buy gifts for the family. I made you the bank so you could save, and you did just that! Now you deserve to get your money.

With that, Grandpa Dooley gave the hammer a swing and the pig broke in several pieces.

Willie couldn’t believe all the coins that fell out. Grandpa gave Willie a pat on the back and said,”I can always make you another piggy bank, and I will. This time, I’ll make sure you can open your piggy bank by yourself. “

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The Bobbin Girls

Thursday, September 21st, 2017

Yundi and Nellie ran towards Coach Campbell yelling, “Hey Coach!” Coach answered, “Hey – What’s up? How is everybody?” “Good Coach, said Yundi. “Yeah,good. Visit any more mines Coach?”

“Ha, ha – no, no – I am not going back down in those mines again,” said Coach. Nellie nodded her head and said, “Yeah, that was not a place I would want to go. So dark, and dirty. Scary.”

“Sure is,” shared Coach, “Coal mining is a dangerous job.”

Nellie asked,“Hey Coach, remember you said you would tell us about what the young girls did for work?”

“Sure do,” answered Coach. “They were nicknamed Bobbin Girls, and they worked at the local textile mill. They were called Bobbin Girls because their main job was to work with the bobbins of cotton thread.

image of thread bobbins

 

 

Bobbin Girls working in textile mill

The Bobbin Girls would run back and forth with the bobbins of thread to keep the looms working. The loom machines wove the threads together to make fabric for clothing.”

“Yundi and Nellie both looked amazed, and Yundi said,  “That looks like a lot of running!

I bet those Bobbin Girls were real tired after working. How long a day did they work Coach?”

image of one of the Bobbin Girls in the textile mill.

“The Bobbin Girls put in a long-long day,” answered Coach; “10 hours or so. Plus, the big room with the big looms had the windows closed to keep the wind from messing up the threads of cotton. A little breeze could get them mixed up and stuck. That stops the loom from working.”

“The windows were closed? It must have been so hot,” said Nellie.“Oh yes, very hot and very loud. The giant looms make an awful racket,” added Coach.

Coach pulls out his phone, and says, “I have a youtube movie of a working mill room at the Boott Mills in Lowell. Let’s look at it together. This video shows several machines working at the same time.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTmYV3J5JU4

Yundi shook his head and said, “Wow Coach, sure am glad my classroom at school is air conditioned. But, my classroom can kinda get just as loud – SOMETIMES!!”

Coach laughed and shook his head in agreement and Nellie just giggled. Then Nellie added, “I’m glad that, in this country, young girls like me don’t have to work in factories like the Bobbin Girls did.”

Story by:

image of Coach 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 program.

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I Don’t Think I’m Old Enough for a Puppy.

Friday, September 8th, 2017

image of Beagle puppyWhen Willie, Hector and Bobby arrived in homeroom class all they could talk about was Coach Campbell’s new puppy. They got the rest of the class all excited about puppies and having pets.

Teacher Pat, decided to use this conversation to talk about responsibility. Pets are a big responsibility and she didn’t think the “Can Dos” knew just how much of a responsibility they are, especially puppies.

“Class, pets are wonderful. Puppies and grown up dogs and kittens and cats make great companions. But…they are living things that need care. Just like you, they need to be fed and given water at certain times. They can’t do this for themselves.

They also need other things, like trips to the the vet, which is their kind of doctor to keep them healthy.

Let’s talk about a puppy. Coach Campbell told you that a puppy needs to be walked several times a day until he or she get older. Otherwise there will be accidents. A puppy need to be trained to behave, never hit, but trained by someone who knows how to train a puppy, or learns how to train a puppy.A puppy need to learn to follow commands such as …sit…stay…down.

Puppies need lots of exercise. They need to run and to play and they need lots of affection.”

Teacher Pat could see by the looks on the “Can Dos” faces that they still wanted to ask their parents about a puppy.  So she asked the big question,”Are you willing to get up a half hour earlier every day to walk your puppy in the rain and the snow and the cold weather, not just on sunny days?” A look of concern came over  some of the “Can Dos” faces.

“Are you ready to walk your puppy again after school, and before bed? Are you willing to clean up after him if he has an accident in the house?

Who will train your puppy to behave? Who will walk your puppy when you are in school? Will you give up after school activities to go home and walk your puppy?”

Now most of the class looked concerned.

Then Miss Pat said,”If this is your puppy, than you are responsible for him, not your mom, or your dad, or your older brother or sister…you are responsible.”

Hector raised his hand. When Miss Pat called on him he said,”I sure would like to have a puppy to play with from time to time, but I don’t think I’m old enough for a puppy, yet.” Most of the other “Can Do’s were nodding their heads in agreement.

Miss Pat smiled and said, “Good thinking, Hector. Getting a pet is a big commitment. Waiting untill you are a bit older, and can really take care of a puppy is the right idea.”

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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

“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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