This page includes previous Joining With Juniors columns from the 1994 issues of Across the Fence Post .
Help for youth leaders from the ISWSC
With the demise of the Ben Franklin Stamp Clubs and the lack of support from the U. S. Postal Service, club leaders are scrambling to find new sources of stamp collecting materials and ideas. Philatelic organizations and individuals have stepped forward to fill this void. One organization that has been actively promoting youth philately is the International Society of Worldwide Stamp Collectors. (Membership is not a requirement to take advantage of the services offered.)
The ISWSC will send worldwide stamps and other supplies, as available, to bona fide youth organizations making a request. Members as a part of their annual dues donate the stamps. Send the age and number of children in your youth group to: Ken Costilow, 621 Virginius Dr., Virginia Beach, VA 23452.
The organization also sponsors an International Youth Leader to Leader Program. This service pairs leaders of youth stamp clubs in this country to leaders of junior stamp clubs in other nations. The purpose of the Leader-to-Leader Program is to promote the exchange of program ideas, encourage joint activities between clubs, and to inspire youth to become pen pals and trade stamps with each other. If you are interested in this program, contact: Ariel Poling, 302 Hidden Acres Dr., Bedford, IN 47421.
The society publishes a newsletter every two months. In addition to a variety of articles to help beginners and advanced collectors alike, the "Kids' Page" has ideas that you can implement as club activities.
For example, the July-August issue contained directions for "Get All Three," a card game made with dam-aged and common stamps. The object of the game is to collect "books" or sets of stamp cards. The cards portray different stamp categories such as perfins, coil stamps, cut squares, etc. If you would like a set of directions, send a large SASE to: MaryAnn Bowman, P.O. Box 1451, Waukesha, WI 53187, and I will forward a copy of the article.
Another example from the ISWSC "Kids' Page" showed an album page that was created using "Hello from Around the World" Hallmark stickers (sold under the budget priced Ambassador label). The illustrated page showed 12 different labels of child figures dressed in native costume. Above each figure was "Hello" in the native language of the country. Beneath the figure was the country name.
There are several different ways that such a page could be used. Stamps could be pre-selected and might be used as an introductory activity for foreign stamp identification. Intermediate collectors might enjoy using the page as a scavenger hunt by searching through a large accumulation to find a stamp to go with each figure/country.
Using the same set of labels, one could also make a memory card game where youth would match one card with the sticker to one card bearing an actual stamp from the country.
If the stickers are no longer avail-able at your local store, you could still use variations of the idea by writing the "Hello" and country name above and below an album space. Likewise, it might also be fun to adapt the game at holiday time with the native spelling for "Merry Christmas." If teaching foreign currency is your objective, cards or album pages could be de-signed with that objective in mind. With a little imagination and a lot of common stamps, you can prepare many interesting activities that will keep your youth group interested in stamp collecting. •
February issue No column this issue
Letter-writing etiquette: learning about SASEs
Each year, I try to incorporate at least one letter-writing project into my stamp club activities. This might take the form of writing a business letter in answer to a display or classified ad. Another time it might be a friendly letter to a stamp collecting pen pal. My favorite letter-writing activity is the type where kids have an opportunity to send for something that is free. Kids love to receive mail!
Perhaps it is because I am an educator by profession that I feel the need and importance of having youth learn the correct way to write letters. Many young collectors have not had many letter-writing experiences. Thus, a crash course in the form and parts of a friendly letter is usually necessary. We briefly discuss the heading, greeting, body, closing, and signature of the letter. Although I have a model that the kids can use to pattern their own letter-writing activity, I urge them to make their letters unique and interesting by personalizing them. We also discuss the proper way to address the outside of the envelope.
Introducing the idea of a SASE is a new concept for many young collectors. Preparing the SASE is another mini-lesson in itself. I discuss the need for having a return envelope properly addressed to themselves and franked with postage. We discuss how it is always considered polite to include a SASE when making an inquiry where a response is expected. I make a big point of stressing that the SASE will be returned to them, and this means they have an opportunity to put stamps on their return envelopes that they would like for their own collections. This is not as easy a lesson as you might suppose. It is a good time to discuss the use of commemoratives as opposed to definitives-on letters to collectors.
Over the years, I have watched the philatelic press for collectors offering to send free stamps to kids for SASEs. Some make their offers available on an annual basis, others provide the stamps upon request, and some make their offers available for a limited time.
Would you like to try this activity with your youth group? Have your kids write to: Norman Holden, P.O. Box 1314, Sumas, WA 98295-1314. He will send beginners a packet containing
approximately 200 all-different, off-paper worldwide stamps for a No. 10 SASE. Another offer is for approximately 100 on- and off-paper stamps for a SASE from: Project-Just for Kids, P.O. Box 205, Iola, TX 77861.
Introduce your youth to letter writing and have them discover the joys that other stamp collectors derive from receiving mail.
Postal products promote philately (United States and Canada)
Everyone loves a bargain! Imagine my surprise when I opened the January/ February/March 1994 Stamps etc. catalog from the U.S. Postal Service and discovered that they were having a close-out sale on some of their stamp products at greatly reduced prices.
The first item to catch my eye was the board game Stampin'. I already have one copy of the game. With the much-lowered price of $5.95, however, I plan to order another copy or two so more can participate in the game. Stampin' can be played with two, three, or four players. The recommended ages are from eight years to adult. In the game, players try to complete sets of four stamp cards by "wheeling and dealing" through auctions, trades, and "dice duels."
Another product that was greatly reduced is the videotape titled "The Airmail Story." Although this documentary is aimed at adult audiences, most youth over the age of 10 will find
it interesting. The video focuses on the early development of airmail service in America. Names of aviation's pioneers such as Orville and Wilbur Wright, Charles Lindberg, and Amelia Earhart are familiar to youth. The video, priced at $9.95, helps youth to learn more about those exciting airmail pioneers and their daring adventures.
Looking for a prize? One gift idea presented in the catalog is the Indian Headdresses folder. Priced at $2.95, the colorful folder contains an un-folded booklet pane of 10, making the folder price just 45 ˘ over face value of the stamps.
The above items are available from: Philatelic Fulfillment Service Center, U.S. Postal Service, Box 449997, Kansas City, MO 65144-9997.
The Canada Post Corporation produced a full-length feature film for youth. "Tommy Tricker and the Stamp
Traveler" has now been made into a video and book. It is the story of Ralph, a young collector who has a passion for stamps. One day he trades one of his father's most precious stamps - a Bluenose - to Tommy Tricker. This sets off a series of adventures as Ralph tries to get the stamp back. The discovery of a secret formula for stamp traveling sends Ralph to Australia and more adventures.
The 105-minute film was extremely popular in Canada and resulted in an upswing in membership for there Stamp Traveller's Club, Canada's youth philatelic program. The good news is that they are preparing to shoot a new film: "The Return of Tommy Tricker."
Both the book and the video are available for $24.95 (Canadian) from: The Stamp Traveller's Club, Canada Post Corporation, 75 St Ninian, Antagonize NS B2G 2R8.
Adding these items to your club's library will provide entertainment and learning while promoting the philatelic hobby among youth.
By WFSC VP Youth Division MaryAnn Bowman
Wee Deliver; USPS program to stamp out illiteracy
The U.S. Postal Service has developed a program to promote literacy among elementary school students. The Wee Deliver program allows students to experience a simulated mail delivery system within the school setting.
The school's student post office functions very much like an actual postal system. It has its own student postmaster, letter carriers, and clerks. Hallways and classrooms receive street names, addresses, and ZIP codes. Students write and receive letters from each other using stamps they have designed. Mail is collected, sorted, and delivered by student postal workers.
The program, to be effective, requires the cooperation of teachers, staff, and parent volunteers. Their role is to implement the testing and hiring of student postal employees, establish a review board for selecting stamp designs, and develop a school mapping and address system. The program can be expanded to include school-wide contests and participation in the In-School Postal Service.
Students serve as postmasters, cancelers, nixie clerks, sorters, and letter carriers. However, before they serve in these capacities, they learn about the mail delivery system, vocabulary associated with the jobs, and the correct manner in which to address envelopes. Students must fill out applications, be interviewed, and take a postal exam.
The In-School Postal Service can be implemented as an all-school project. Provisions within the manual include vocabulary suitable for the kindergarten age child as well as for the upper grade student. All students can be involved in developing stamp designs to be used on the letters.
The Wee Deliver kit includes a video that explains and shows the program in action. It also includes a cardboard mailbox, student mailbag, and two cancelers. A manual outlines the details of the program with a plan and schedule for implementation. Requirements for each of the In-School Postal Service employees and their duties, as well as the postal exam, job application, and oath of office are included.
The program provides teachers with an opportunity to provide a meaningful educational experience while teaching real-life basic skills through hands-on learning. Children are actively involved with reading, writing, and spelling skills. Although teachers typically oversee the program, interested parents and adult volunteers can coordinate and introduce the program to the school.
Information about the Wee Deliver program is available from your local postmaster or by writing: WEE DELIVER, Office of Literacy, U.S. Postal Service, 470 L'Enfant Plaza SW, Room 4102E, Washington DC 20260-3110. 0
Learning about African-Americans
By WFSC VP Youth Division MaryAnn Bowman
Looking for a program idea that can be used at your club or used in a classroom situation? Look no further. The U.S. Postal Service has prepared a new 12-minute video. "African-American LEGENDS & LEADERS in American History" is a short and entertaining program that spotlights the accomplishments of black Americans on United States postage stamps. The video is available from your local postmaster. If you experience difficulty in obtaining a copy, write to me.
To complement the video, I am offering two additional activities. Black Heritage commemoratives have been issued since 1978. A matching activity provides youth with an opportunity to discover the contributions made by 10 of these famous men and women. Youth are challenged to use the stamps' designs to help them make a match. Stamp catalogs, stamp albums, an other reference material can also be used to complete the activity.
The "Black American United States Stamp Album" will also be sent to those making the request. The album, designed by John Rose, is intended to be reproduced. The 9-page album is not limited to the stamps produced for Black History Month in February, but also depicts other stamps that feature African-Americans. The album contains brief biographies.
To receive these materials, write to: MaryAnn Bowman, P.O. Box 1451, Waukesha, WI 53187. Please include $1 to defray the costs of photocopies, postage, and handling. •
KIDPEX time again
The seventh annual KIDPEX, an all-youth stamp show, will be held on Saturday, October 15, 1994, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., at the Elkhart Lake Elementary/Middle School, 251 E. Maple St., Elkhart Lake, WI. The show has a new location this year, and it is hoped that youth from a different area of the state will be able to experience the fun of stamp collecting.
The U.S. Postal Service National Stamp Collecting Month promotional theme "Wonders of the Sea" will also serve as the theme for KIDPEX. Some of the activities, special projects, and display items will relate to this theme.
A treasure chest of on-paper stamps will find a new home to the young person who comes the closest to guessing the actual number of stamps in the chest. All visitors will be challenged to search through a mixture to find examples of the five different Sea Shell booklet stamps. Not only will they be able to keep the stamps, but each will also be allowed to take home a real seashell from among those on display.
Children love to design first-day covers. Using a variety of art materials such as stencils, stickers, crayons, markers, etc., youth will design a cachet for the Wonders of the Sea stamps. Covers will be mailed to the first-day site and returned via the mail stream to each budding new collector.
Do you remember the "Go Fish" game that can be found at many bazaars and fairs? This activity will have a philatelic twist with stamp prizes for all who try their luck.
This year's educational emphasis will relate to the tools of the trade. Different activities involving tongs, a magnifying glass, perforation gauge, watermark fluid and tray, storage materials, and a black light will allow youngsters to explore and learn more about the hobby.
As always, the GeoSafari stamp games and electronic circuit boards will be back. Dealers, a U.S. Postal Service substation, and youth exhibits are also an integral part of the show.
If you have never attended a KIDPEX, you may want to join us at this year's event. For information about the show and youth exhibiting, write to: MaryAnn Bowman, P.O. Box 1451, Waukesha, WI 53187. •
National Stamp Collecting Month project: stamps for kids
Looking for a way to get stamps into the hands of kids as well as promoting the hobby? Is your club looking for an activity to benefit the community?
National Stamp Collecting Month would be a good time for you as an individual or for your club to organize a meeting to assemble inexpensive stamp collecting kits for distribution during the upcoming holiday season. You will be amazed at the fun you can have assembling the kits and the good will that will be generated.
Almost every community reaches out to its citizens during the Christmas season with a plea for food, clothes, and toys for the needy. Larger metropolitan areas, especially, are always looking for contributions. These "drives" go by many different names, but their goal is the same - to provide for those less fortunate.
A project worth emulating has been suggested by a member of the APS Youth Activities Committee. The idea was conceived for a local "Toys for Tots" program. This idea could work for your club and help your community at the same time!
Into a one-gallon Dow brand storage bag, insert a beginner type album. The American Stamp Dealers Association "My Stamp Album" is one example. Albums created by John Rose and distributed by the International Society of Worldwide Stamp Collectors could also be used. Have some creative talents? Design and reproduce your own inexpensive topical or worldwide albums.
Assemble a packet of off-paper stamps that correspond to the types of stamps that might be mounted into the beginner album. Put together another packet of 100 or so stamp hinges - enough to mount the stamps into the album. Place these envelopes inside the front cover of the album.
Add stamp-collecting literature suitable for youth such as Linn's "Stamp Collecting Made Easy" booklet. Reproduce a small coupon saying: "These stamps have been donated by collectors JUST FOR YOU!" An added touch might be to include a phrase such as "To receive a packet of stamps send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to . . ." Replies generated as a result of your coupon will help you to gauge the success of your program.
To finish the project, stuff the bags with on-paper stamps until they almost won't close. Add a note to each bag suggesting that the gift be given to children between the ages of 8 to 12. Deliver the bags.
A suggestion: Each community organization tends to have a different set of guidelines and age-specific criteria for recipients of its Christmas collection project. You may want to do some checking before you indiscriminately drop off your gifts.
By starting your project during National Stamp Collecting Month, you should have it completed and ready to deliver in time for the holiday season. I would like to hear about your successful experiences and any ideas you might have. Share them with: MaryAnn Bowman, P.O. Box 1451, Waukesha, WI 53187.
For more information about the inexpensive albums mentioned above, send a large SASE to:
Beginners Stamp Collecting Program American Stamp Dealers Association 3 School Street
Glen Cove, NY 11542
Al & Mildred Feinberg 3340 Dale Road Bensalem, PA 19020
For information about how to obtain Linn's "Stamp Collecting Made Easy," send a large SASE to:
Stamp Collecting Made Easy Linn's Stamp News
P.O. Box 29 Sidney, OH 45365
What's new in youth philately? The Stamp Zone and two audio-visual programs
By WFSC VP Youth Division, MaryAnn Bowman
National Stamp Collecting Month brought several new youth-oriented promotional items to my attention. Club leaders and promoters of youth philately are always looking for new programs and ideas. These new resources will add a new dimension to your youth program.
PBS TV program
The popular children's television program, "Reading Rainbow," will feature stamp collecting on one of the ten new programs taped for the fall season. Each 30-minute program is highlighted by the reading of a children's book followed by several segments related to the book.
The book chosen for the "U.S. Mail" feature is HAIL TO MAIL. Samuel Marshak, a Russian, originally wrote the book in 1927. The story has been translated by Richard Pevear and illustrated by Vladimir Rudunsky. The story, written in rhyme, tells the tale of a certified letter is it is carried by a succession of mail carriers. From New York to Switzerland, then on to Brazil, the letter is faithfully carried around the globe as it tries to catch up with Mr. John Peck.
The stamp-collecting segment of the show focuses on Matthew Ross, a 12-year-old Brooklyn stamp collector, a protégé of George T. Guzzio. The opening and closing stamp montages feature the philatelic material of Mary Ann Owens (former Wisconsinite), Guzzio and Ross.
Other segments include children telling why they write letters and a tour of what happens to the mail dropped in mail boxes at both a Long Island Post Office today contrasted with archival film from Washington D.C.
The program was scheduled to air on Tuesday, October 11, on many Public Broadcasting Service TV stations. As the programs are repeated throughout the year, it may be possible for you to contact your local PBS station and determine when the program will be repeated. I plan to tape the program for future use.
The U.S. Postal Service (in collaboration with The Children's Television Workshop) has released a new video, "Hispanic Tesoro - Legends and Leaders in American History." This new 15-minute video stars Lenni and Alex from the hit PBS "Ghostwriter" series. When Alex receives a letter containing a treasure map, the pair is led on a philatelic adventure. Through United States stamps, they are introduced to the influences of the Spanish and Hispanic on American culture. The video should be available through your post office or regional center's marketing and communications department.
The Stamp Zone
An exciting new publication for youth, The Stamp Zone, made its debut in October. The monthly magazine aimed at young collectors (12 and under) is a 16-page, bicolored periodical. Each issue promises to bring facts and philatelic fun. The first issue contains an article by Barry Krause, author of several stamp-collecting books. The article begins by exploring the idea of why people collect stamps. It continues with suggestions for ways to start your collection, how to handle stamps, and discusses tools used by collectors.
The foreign focus in this issue is on Australia - the country and its stamps. The magazine has a "Question and Answer Corner," a "Pen Pal Page," and "The Puzzle Zone." The best news is that a subscription to the magazine is ABSOLUTELY FREE. If you would like to have a copy of the premier issue and a subscription coupon, send 75˘ in postage and an address label to: MaryAnn Bowman, P.O. Box 1451, Waukesha, WI 53187.
Philatelic Christmas order
By WFSC VP Youth Division, MaryAnn Bowman
The holiday season is a perfect time to introduce the stamp-collecting hobby to a youngster. I am very pleased to be able to offer you some materials that will help to make your holiday shopping a little easier and to give you an opportunity to promote the hobby.
Your cost will be postage only. Send mint gummed postage or a check made out to me. Orders received by December 20, 1994, will be processed immediately, and you should still have the items in time for Christmas. The offer positively expires January 31, 1995.
This package is geared toward the young collector, ages seven and under. Postage is $2.36. Contents include:
(1) Benjamin Franklin Stamp Club Coloring Book - a free U.S. Postal Service publication that introduces the exciting world of stamp collecting through stamps that can be colored.
(2) My Stamp Album - the popular American Stamp Dealer's Association album that allows youngsters to follow their own collecting interests. Each of the 18 pages has a space at the top for a heading such as the name of a topic or country. Some of the pages have been designed to suggest different topics. Other pages have a free-form design.
(3) 'The Stamp Zone --- a new bicolored monthly magazine, geared toward the young stamp collector. An application blank will also be enclosed so you can send for the free subscription.
This package is suggested for the 8- to 12-year-old beginning collector. Priority Mail will be used. Send $2.90 in postage. Package B contains:
(1) My Stamp Album - described above.
(2) The Stamp Zone -- also described above.
(3) Linn's "Stamp Collecting Made Easy" booklet.
(4) Do Something Wild - Collect Stamps - a large colorful poster from the 1992 October Stamp Collecting Month promotion by the U.S. Postal Service.
(5) 1992 Stamp Collecting Month activity booklet.
(6) Junior Philatelists of America literature, including the pamphlet "Getting Started in Stamp Collecting" and a JPA membership application.
This is for intermediate and advanced youth collectors, as well as beginning adults. It is a copy of Steven Rod's "An Introduction to Stamp Collecting." The paperback book originally retailed for $2.95. It can be yours for postage of 98 ˘.
To complete any of the packages described above, add a glassine envelope of 100 or so hinges and a small packet of stamps from your duplicates. Whether gifts or stocking stuffers, these inexpensive items could be the beginning of a new hobby for your special youngster.
The Junior Philatelists of America also is running a special promotion during the holiday season. For every new member signing up before the end of the year, a packet of 100 stamps will be sent. This is in addition to the goodie packet that new members receive. Membership benefits include a subscription to the bimonthly newsletter, The Philatelic Observer. Members can also join various study groups, find pen pals, and participate in auctions. I personally keep track of all Wisconsin members and write to them three times a year notifying them of Wisconsin shows I will be at and arranging for meetings. Membership is a bargain at $9 a year. A family membership is also available. You can receive JPA information for a large SASE with 52 ˘
All requests should be sent to: MaryAnn Bowman, P.O. Box 1451, Waukesha, WI 53187. Any combination of two of the above packages can be sent at the Priority Mail rate for a postage savings.
Best wishes for a Happy Holiday Season!
Latest update: June 13, 2005