Wisconsin Federation of Stamp Clubs (WFSC)
Across the Fence Post Newsletter
1998 Joining With Juniors columns

          This page includes previous Joining With Juniors columns from the 1998 issues of Across the Fence Post .

January issue

Philatelic Achievement Awards - New Zealand Style

By WFSC VP Youth Division MaryAnn Bowman

To encourage active participation in the stamp-collecting hobby, some countries have developed an incentive program that awards the young collector as he/she moves through the ranks from a beginner to a national-level exhibitor. One such program that I am familiar with is practiced in New Zealand.

There are four levels of awards in the New Zealand program: bronze, silver-bronze, silver, and gold. It is very easy to obtain awards for the first two levels. In fact, they can be given by a stamp club leader, a schoolteacher, youth group leader, or an adult stamp collector. Qualifiers for the silver and gold awards must be examined by a person approved by the program's Philatelic Youth Council.

To receive the Bronze Achievement Award, the applicant must complete various tasks and have met some basic criteria. The applicant must have formed a collection over a period of more than six months, given a short two- to three-minute talk on three pages from his/her collection, and be able to demonstrate how to mount stamps correctly and remove stamps from paper. The youth also must be able to answer four of six questions related to basic philately, such as: What is a first-day cover? What is the purpose of watermarks? What is the function of perforations etc? When the applicant has completed the various tasks, a certificate and bronze award is sent and a formal presentation is made at the next stamp club meeting.

The silver-bronze award is achieved after the applicant has collected for at least 12 months, answered a 10-question paper, exhibited eight pages, given a five-minute talk _ of his display, and demonstrated basic under-standings of the detection of watermarks and the measurement of perforations. The award is again presented at a stamp club meeting.

To receive a silver award, the applicant must have collected stamps for at least two years. The applicant must additionally complete a question paper without assistance, display 16 pages of stamps, give a five- to 10-minute talk on the collection, answer specialized questions regarding the exhibit and demonstrate an understanding of the use of a stamp catalog.

The gold award is obtainable after collecting for four years and showing 32 pages of material of a national-level standard. The applicant must also present a 15- to 20-minute program to an adult stamp club and answer questions regarding the display. An essay of 300 words must be written on one of the stamp collecting disciplines (traditional, thematic, postal history, or postal stationery). A written paper with 25 questions related to philatelic terminology also must be completed.

Applicants must work up through the awards. They cannot just "go for the gold" without first receiving the lower awards.

What do you think of this idea? Do you think young collectors in the United States would benefit from a similar achievement program? Share your ideas by writing to me at: P.O. Box 1451, Waukesha, WI 53187.


February issue

Micro printing, Latent Images, and Bugs - New Innovations from the USPS

By WFSC VP Youth Division MaryAnn Bowman

A favorite program of my youth stamp club has always been a demonstration of the black light. Stamps that "glow" in the dark intrigue young collectors. Tagging has been around since the 1960s. Now, micro printing and latent images has become the newest gimmick to grab the attention of the budding philatelist.

Stamps are micro printed as a security device, Tiny letters or numerals printed as a part of the stamp's design can be seen under high magnification. A 10X to 30X magnifier is suggested for best viewing.

Micro printing first appeared in 1992 on the American Wildflowers stamps when a tiny dot pattern was added to the "29" denomination figures. Since that time, micro printed stamps have come a long way. In 1997, the 32c Felix Varela stamp was created entirely of the letters "USPS" micro printed repeatedly.

The December 29, 1997, issue of Linn's Stamp News published an interesting article detailing the micro printing found on 1997 issues as well as an accompanying chart that details all of the micro printed stamps to date.

Latent images were introduced with the Classic Movie Monsters issue as a gimmick aimed at attracting youth to the hobby. To view these hidden images, a special decoder must be ordered from the U.S. Postal Service. Images that can be detected with the decoder are opera masks, vampire bats, Egyptian characters and figures, and lightening bolts.

Further background information on these stamps can be found in the October 13, 1997, issue of Stamp Collector. In addition to the latent images, the Monster stamps also are uniquely tagged so that collectors are able to reconstruct a full pane of used stamps. This in itself might make an interesting and challenging project for one of your avid collectors, or perhaps to accomplish as a group project.

1997 was the year of the Bugs Bunny stamps. This popular cartoon character offers an interesting way to illustrate that choosing a design for stamp production requires much consideration. The January 1998 issue of Scott Stamp Monthly (pp. 8-11) contains many colored illustrations of designs that didn't make it and explains why the designs were rejected.

Micro printing and latent images are just the newest of gimmicks introduced to the stamp-collecting world. Detecting hidden images reinforces the skill of using a magnifier and can lead to additional discussion on hidden dates found on Canadian issues and secret marks on United States stamps.

March issue No column this issue

April issue No column this issue

May/June issue

Celebrate the Century - Put Your Stamp on History

By WFSC VP Youth Division MaryAnn Bowman

The U.S. Postal Service has gone to great lengths and expense to produce an educational kit for classroom use as the new millennium is ushered in. Interested teachers received the first of these kits, created to introduce students to the era of the Fifties, in February. Quoting from the letter to teachers:

"The U.S. Postal Service has developed a once- in-a-lifetime participatory program to teach our youth about the people, places, and events that have shaped our nation during the past 100 years. As children learn about the different 20th century decades, they will cast their official votes -- along with all Americans - on which subjects they would like to commemorate with stamps. This is a historic event: never before have Americans been invited to vote on what they would like to see commemorated with United States postage stamps."

The kit arrived in a large outer box depicting stamp-like designs featuring the various decades and the voting categories. Inside, another large box of similar design portrays the feeling of travel through time with its portfolio shape and luggage tag. Carefully packed within the file is a slick, multicolored trifold resource kit for educators.

The first pocket contains a colorful poster that recreates a timeline of events from the 1950s. A resource guide is another valuable fool. It cross-references the 10 lessons with a curriculum grid. Reproducible worksheets are included for some of the lessons. A parent letter, stickers, listings of related Internet Web sites, and a reading list for students and adults complete the guide.

The second pocket contains 30 disks - each one representing one of the possible stamp designs (ballot topics). The front of each disk has a visual representation of the topic, while the back of the disk contains background information that can be presented to the students. The outer rim gives references to Web sites that youth can visit to find out more about the given topic.

The third pocket is filled with large colorful laminated cards. One side of the cards presents a visual representation of 10 of the topics. The other side contains the lessons. Each card is set up so that educators can easily determine how the lessons "connect" to the curriculum, lesson extensions through technology, materials needed, class time allotment, and teacher preparation time. Each lesson is easy to follow. The lessons begin with a discussion of what makes an educated voter and conclude with the students voting for their favorite topics. The in-between lessons acquaint students with the 30 ballot topics, illustrate the way science and technology change and affect areas of life, give students a real experience of the 1950s. etc.

The kit includes ballots - one to be completed at school by the students and one to be taken home for parent participation. Student ballots are coded differently than their parent's vote. Teachers received a postage-free envelope to return the ballots, whereas the parents have to adhere a stamp before mailing.

Student magazines complete the kit. They can be used independent of the lessons in class or at home.

This is the first of five other kits that teachers will receive between now and the end of 1999. The U.S. Postal Service ice has gone to great expense to introduce students to this exciting new stamp series.

July/August issue No column this issue

September issue

What's New for Stamp Collecting Kids?

Stamp design contest

BY WFSC VP Youth Division MaryAnn Bowman

The U.S. Postal Service has announced their "Stampin' the Future" design contest. Children between the ages of 8 and 12 are invited to draw a stamp design that shows their view of the future. For example, the design could illustrate new inventions or discoveries for the 21st century or could foretell the lifestyle of the future by picturing the types of homes people might live in, styles of clothing, or even fun activities to pursue in spare time.

Only one entry per child is permitted. The design must be submitted on 8- -by-ll-inch white papers. The drawing must be in a horizontal format and in color. Entries must be received by October 17, 1998.

If you know any youngsters between the ages of 8 and 12, urge them to enter this contest. Their original ideas for the future could win them some terrific prizes and the opportunity to see their design printed on millions of stamps. Ask at your local post office for complete details and official entry forms.

Dinosaur book

Kids love dinosaurs! The recently released book, "James Gurney: The World of Dinosaurs," not only gives interesting information about dinosaurs, it also tells interesting stuff about stamp collecting. In fact, some of the book's illustrations are pictures of stamps including the United States dinosaur stamps released in 1997.

Many young readers are already familiar with James Gurney of the Dinotopia books. When he was asked to develop a new set of dinosaur postage stamps for our country, the stamps were to accurately reflect the latest scientific thinking about dinosaurs in an unusual pictorial format.

The book provides an interesting look into the design of the stamps themselves, including original concept sketches and color prints, as described by the artist James Gurney. Scientifically accurate and detailed information about the 15 subjects of the stamp designs makes the book a valuable reference. The book is richly illustrated with photos, maps, diagrams, and drawings and, of course, dinosaur stamps from around the world.

The large hardcover book of 48 pages includes a double-sided pullout poster that replicates the stamp's design. Published by The Greenwich Workshop Press, the book retails at approximately $20 and can be ordered from your favorite bookstore. With the holiday season approaching, this would make a nice gift for the young stamp collector and for all those who love dinosaurs.


Canada Post introduced its Stampville CD- ROM during last year's holiday season. Kids of all ages can experience the fun of learning about stamp collecting as well as the opportunity to view over 1,600Canadian stamps. The CD-ROM additionally provides an opportunity to learn about Canada's history, geography, wildlife, people, and countless other topics.

This interactive game for the whole family features activities, games, stories, and more. It runs on Windows and Macintosh systems. Another great gift idea for any youngster interested in stamps.

October issue

Stamp Collecting Workshop

By WFSC VP Youth Division MaryAnn Bowman

The Wauwatosa Philatelic Society has been offering a beginning stamp workshop for many years. The program is for children in second to eighth grades. Forty-four youth attended the club's 14th workshop held in February at a local library.

The two-hour workshops are easy to set up and once the format is in place, they can be quickly put into action for future years. The workshop room is arranged with five learning stations. Participants are divided into small groups and rotate from station to station to receive instruction in various skills of stamp collecting. Youngsters spend approximately 15 to 20 minutes at each station.

Doug Van Beek has provided information on what is taught at the Wauwatosa Philatelic Society's workshop. Your group, however, may have different ideas about what to present, order of presentation, or possibly even the combination of subjects presented at any one station.

Station 1 - Soaking stamps off paper is demonstrated together with a lesson on detecting watermarks.

Station 2 - The focus here is to show the kids the tools used in identifying foreign stamps as well as having them practice locating various foreign countries on maps and globes.

Station 3 - Here the kids learn about albums and hinging and mounting stamps. First-day covers are also discussed at this station.

- Station 4 - A black light demonstration (yes, stamps glow in the dark!) is combined with a lesson on the use of a perforation gauge.

Station 5 - Scott numbers, catalogs, and stamp values are introduced.

It takes club support to run successful youth workshops. For one thing, you need volunteers to present the lessons. Ideally, there should be two adults at each station. In addition, you will need adults to register the youth and more helpers to oversee any other activities you might offer.

Hands-on activities are recommended. Take-home materials such as pamphlets and brochures that reinforce the lessons should be provided, and free stamps are a must!

You can usually get support in the form of beginning stamp-collecting materials through your local post office. Your post office also might be able to furnish some door prizes.

I know of several Wisconsin groups that have tried something similar with slight variations on the topics presented at the workshop stations. Remember to demonstrate good collecting habits by always using tongs and, if possible, include examples of storage materials such as stock cards and glassine envelopes. Some groups charge a small fee and provide several supplies to the participants.

Looking for a new way to "wow" your young collectors this year? Show them the latent images only visible through the U.S. Postal Service's secret decoder, Kids will love seeing the badger on the 1998 Wisconsin Statehood stamp and the pet-related images in the recent Bright Eyes issue.

It may be too late to plan a workshop for this October's National Stamp Collecting Month, but it is not too early to plan one for the winter months ahead.

I'd like to hear about your attempts at hosting a workshop for kids.

November issue No column this issue

December issue

Youth Exhibiting - International Level

By WFSC VP Youth Division MaryAnn Bowman

ILSAPEX '98, recently held in Johannesburg, South Africa, had a seminar for youth leaders working with young exhibitors. Michael Mtadesker, of Canada, conducted the hands-on workshop. Almost 20 participants (mostly from South Africa) were on hand for the three-hour session. I was among those attending.

The seminar focused on youth exhibiting at the international level but its applications can benefit even the beginning exhibitor at local and regional shows.

For those unfamiliar with FIP youth judging, two different valuation sheets are used. One sheet is used with thematic exhibits, and the other sheet is used with traditional exhibits. Traditional exhibits include postal history, postal stationery, aero philately, revenues, and maxima philately.

A little bit of time was spent defining each of these collecting fields and discussing the plan each should follow.

Youth are grouped by age:

Group A is for exhibitors 15 and under. Those under 13 are usually not encouraged to exhibit at the international level - one reason being that they can exhibit only twice in any age group - so if they started exhibiting internationally at age 12, they could exhibit only one more time in Group A.

Group B is for the 16- and 17-year-olds.

Group C includes those who are 18 and 19.

Group D is limited to the 20 and 21-year-old collectors.

It should be noted that in FIP youth international exhibiting, a large vermeil is the highest medal one can receive.

(I am happy to report that although there was only one USA youth exhibiting at ILSAPEX, he received a large vermeil and also won the Junior Grand Prix. Matthew Kweriga showing "U.S. Departmental Officials.")

Thematic exhibiting

In thematic exhibiting, youth are evaluated according to five criteria:



Philatelic Knowledge



There are subheadings within each category. Exhibits can receive a total of 100 points with an exhibit needing at least 85 points to obtain a large vermeil. The youngest age group of thematic exhibitors has more points allotted for presentation (25) than the oldest group (10 points). Less emphasis is placed on plan, development, and philatelic knowledge for the youngest age group; however, those points gradually increase as the exhibitor enters a new age group and more emphasis is placed on those criteria.

Traditional class

In the traditional class, youth are judged using the following criteria:





Just as in thematic Judging, the youngest aged exhibitor receives more points for presentation with those point values decreasing as the exhibitor enters new age categories. For the alder youth exhibitor, treatment and knowledge take on increasingly more importance.

The greatest resource I received at this seminar was the Interpretation of the FIP evaluation sheets. Age group breaks this down. If you would like a copy, send a SASE to me. Specify either "thematic" or "traditional." I'll send the judging and interpretation sheets in that category for 32-cents. If you desire both thematic and traditional sheets, please submit a 55-cents SASE.

The seminar ended with a hands-on activity where participants judged both a traditional and thematic exhibit using the FIP score and interpretation sheets. Working in groups of two and three, the "judges" also had to discuss and explain the reasoning behind their evaluations.

Latest update: June 13, 2005

URL:   http://www.WFSCstamps.org/wfsc_atfp_juniors_1998.shtml