What—This Old Flag?

Hey, Flag Aficionados!

Today is National Flag Day—a day to put out your flag and appreciate the banner that symbolizes your country. Flags are national symbols. Every country has a flag. Yet, the first flags were flown before the world’s countries ever existed! Let’s take a look into the history of flags to better understand how we got our own U.S. Flag.

Initially used for easy identification in warfare, the people of the High and Late Middle Ages would paint their shields with patterns to show whether they were a friend or foe. It became common, then, for knights, infantry commanders, and other leaders to fly a heraldic flag on their saddle in order to grab even more eyes with even more ease.

It didn’t take long before the practice became commonplace for troops to carry their own flag out to the battlefield simply to distinguish their unit.You're a grand ol' flag, you're a high-flyin' flag!In the early 17th century, when sailing reached an all-time peak in popularity, it became the law that ships had to carry flags in order to designate their nationality.And these are the flags evolved and transformed into the national flags and maritime flags of today.

And once flags had shown their purpose at sea, they made themselves useful as a means of simple communication from across the water as well by means of interactive systems.

The earliest national flag belongs to Denmark. It is referred to as the Dannebrog and, adopted in 1219, it is the oldest national flag of any country. However, by the end of the 1700s, it was one among an incredible number. And that number didn’t stop growing until every sovereign state had a national flag.

The American Flag features 13 red and white stripes and 50 stars to symbolize the 50 states and 13 original colonies, the American Flag is an incredibly iconic image, but it hasn’t always looked the same. Our original Flag (modernly known as the Betsy-Ross Flag or Colonial Flag) has been changed more than 25 times as stars continued to be added as territories were annexed into states. We finally designed our modern flag in 1960 after Hawaii, our 50th state, was granted its statehood.

Show your appreciation for our flag today and, as always, thanks for reading, Summer Camp Fans!

- John

What’s Ireland Got To Do With It?

Happy St. Patty’s to you, Lads and Lassies!

Today we parade, we feast, and—most importantly—we don our green apparel to show our Irish pride (or admiration) and the culture in which the Irish surround themselves. It’s interesting that a holiday that’s thought to be so celebratory of the Irish culture owns up to so many elements that aren’t Irish. It might sound like a sin to say, but there’s actually little to do with Ireland when it comes to this celebration.

St. Patty’s Day is GREEN. And while it may be the current color of Ireland, it actually used to be a light shade of blue. It was the shamrock itself—used by St. Patrick—that eventually, by the end of the 18th century, swayed the people to accept their Irish blood was green, despite the The lovely land of Ire...land.fact that his teachings and spreading of Christianity went on more than a thousand years prior.

Okay, so what about the man St. Patrick—the patron saint of Ireland himself. His name sounds Irish. Well, it’s actually not known where St. Patrick was born; but we do know where he wasn’t born: Ireland. While unknown, he is believed to have been Scottish; but wherever he was from, we know it wasn’t Ireland as he was brought to the island as a consequence of being bound in slavery.

Okay, okay…So the color and the celebrated figure don’t actually originate in Ireland. But the celebration itself is an Irish holiday—right? Nope. St. Patrick’s Day was first celebrated on March 17, 1737 in Boston, Massachusetts as a means for Irish immigrants to commemorate their heritage. What started as a community party run by less than 30 people is now a celebration seen across the globe…but it didn’t originate in Ireland.

Even so, the holiday has everything to do with Ireland! After all, it’s the homeland that the folks who first celebrated it were honoring. And why not?! Ireland and the culture of its people is certainly worth celebrating. Happy St. Patty’s Day to all of you, whether you be from Ireland or not and, as always, thanks for reading!

- John

It’s Such a Sunny Day; Please Share My Umbrella

Hey, Rainy Day People!

Everybody knows when there’s anything from a drizzle to a downpour, it’s time to grab an umbrella! After all, that’s what umbrellas are for, right? Well, not for the first 2000+ years of its invention. Let’s get down to business about umbrellas to celebrate today—National Umbrella Day.Good for rain and good for shine, get your umbrella out today!

So, if not for protection from rain, what else would they be using umbrellas for? They were originally designed to provide shade, actually, working as a sort of personal canopy. In fact, the word ‘umbrella’ comes from the Latin word ‘umbra’ which means shade. These types of umbrellas are typically called parasols nowadays.

Umbrellas are thought to have been around for more than 4000 years as shown in artwork and artifacts from ancient civilizations like Egypt and China.

It wouldn’t be until the Victorian Era (or, more accurately, just a couple decades before the Victorian—around 1780) that umbrellas with wooden frames came on the market in London with the intention of keeping consumers dry in wet weather. But they were expensive and difficult to fold when wet which posed an obvious problem.

However, by 1852, a man named Samuel Fox introduced the steel-ribbed umbrella to the world which allowed for much simpler means of collapsing the canopy. From there, umbrella production has run amuck of different styles and different means of making umbrellas collapsible and even retractable.

Everything from umbrellas whose canopies collapse straight down to fully collapsible spring-loaded umbrellas that retract into themselves to become small enough to fit inside a handbag—umbrellas have exploded in their varied styles, fashions, and even purposes! We don’t offer umbrellas, but you can stay dry with our excellent rain gear selection. Browse it by clicking here and, as always, thanks for reading!

- John

Yes, Ma’am, Snowman

Hey, Snow Builders!

Like baking sugary treats, singing seasonal songs, and warming up by the fireplace, building snowmen is one of those iconic wintertime activities that you just have to participate in at least once a year! It always ends up feeling good to get out and move around in the snowy outdoors and—if the snow is made in the right conditions—roll up a man made entirely of snow!This jolly character seems to show up every winter!

It’s nothing new. Snowmen have been crafted out of the frozen precipitation for many, many years. But just how far back does it go?The Rankin/Bass holiday special ‘Frosty the Snowman’ was made in 1954, but that hardly scratches the surface!

While nobody knows just who or when the first snowman was made, we know we have to go back much more than 64 years to get there! We have to go back 165 years to find the earliest known photograph of a snowman. It was taken by a Welsh photographer named Mary Dillwyn in 1853. The original of this photograph sits in the collections of the National Library of Wales.

This nontraditional snowman was made from many years ago!But just because this is the first known photograph of a snowman certainly doesn’t make this the first snowman ever created! But where photography fails us, we look to artistic depictions in historical documents.Author, Bob Eckstein, who wrote ‘The History of the Snowman’ shows strong implication of snowmen from medieval times. Based on illustrations from museums, art galleries, and libraries from Europe, Mr. Eckstein claims to have traced snowmen back to      l                                                                                          l1380!

So the next time you enjoy building a snowman, be mindful of the fact that you’re practicing a fun, seasonal activity that children and grown-ups alike have been doing for centuries! If you’ve got the right kind of snow for it, get outside and start packing that wet stuff together! You’ll have a man that’s made of snow before you know it! Enjoy your time outside in the white, fluffy world and, as always, thanks for reading!

- John

Tutu History

Hey, Dancers!

When you’re talking about the art of gracefully moving your body to a rhythm (or lack thereof), it’s very important that the attire you select will allow for the freedom of movement you require to perform your art. From leotards to tights and capris to ballet slippers, there are many items of dance wear to consider, but of all the countless options available, none are so iconic as the tutu.  Hardly recognizable were the original tutus.

Tutus have become an essential part of the ballet scene with a world of different styles and alterations. They have been made of materials such as tarlatan, muslin, silk, gauze, nylon, and a material called tulle—the most commonly used material at one time. Nobody knows quite where this flashy dance skirt got its appropriately flashy name, but it’s theorized to have derived from the word ‘tulle’, the material from which it was made.

In the Paris Opera, 1832, a ballet dancer by the name of Marie Taglioni debuted a gauzy white skirt that cut off at her ankles and, thanks to its bell shape, allowed for the freedom of movement she needed to perform. It was made by French designer of the Romantic Period, Eugene Lami.

There have been a number of differeThe tutu we all know and love today.nt takes on the general tutu design since its first creation. Fashion designers from like Cecil Beaton from England, Christian Lacroix from France, and Isaac Mizrahi from the United States have all designed their own look for the tutu. This garment has undergone a number of revisions that have continued to shorten the length until the arriving at the Classical tutu design which reveals the entire leg.

For those who aspire to be a ballet dancer as well, shop Everything Summer Camp to find a tutu for you…uh—yourself. Check it out by clicking right here and, as always, thanks for reading, Camp Fans!

- John

Whose Shoes?

Hey, Shoe-wearers!

You wouldn’t dream of doing hard labor in your bare feet! So why would we expect it from our horses? More than just a fun game of tossing metal shoes back and forth, the accessories of this leisure activity were originally footwear for horses. So how did the It doesn't look or sound very comfy, but horses do much better with them than without!horse shoe come to be anyway?

This was first discovered by our ancient ancestors who, as they grew more domesticated and domesticated animals, realized that working animals lived on terrains that often times led to excessive wear and tear on hooves or worse—broken limbs. Our ancestors saw that the walls and portion of the sole on the hooves of a domesticated horse needed additional protection on their feet.

Around the world, different attempts were made. An early method was to wrap the hooves in rawhide leather and other materials which was used for therapeutic purposes as well as protective. Another attempt from the Romans took a note from the common footwear of people at the time—the sandal and strapped this metal bottom around the feet of their horses.

The other methods eventually faded away as people discovered the horseshoe as the best and most efficient means of protection. After proper fitting and grooming, the horseshoe is nailed into the bottom of the hoof (don’t worry—horses of no sensation in their hooves; it’s the equivalent of snipping our fingernails).

These guys are pros, for sure!The popularization of metal horseshoes gave rise to a fun leisurely activity around the stables. Horseshoes has become an immensely widespread game—sort of a more rustic and rural version of bean bags, opposing players stand at opposite ends of the throwing area, marked by two poles sunk into the ground. The idea is to get the U-shaped shoe to wrap around and ‘ring’ a pole. Points are rewarded for touching the pole or being a shoe’s length away as well.

The game came along almost instantly after the shoe was first invented for the purpose of horse hoof protection a little more than 2000 years ago. Still a great means of entertainment today, check out or indoor version of Horseshoes by clicking here. Have a Freestyle Horseshoes makes this wild outdoor game okay for indoors as well.blast horsin’ around at camp and, as always, thanks for reading!

- John

A History Piece on the Poncho

Hey, Curious Campers!

If you get curious about the history of some of your camping gear as we do, then check out the history of the poncho! We carry a handful of ponchos from an assortment of brand names such as Outdoor Products, Red Ledge, and Coghlan’s. But how long hPonchos pre-date Hispanic Central America belonging to the ancient Paracas tribe of South/Central American natives.ave these effective pieces of rain gear been in existence and how did they come to be?

These outer garments were developed for protection from wind, sandstorms, and keeping you warm. We’ve traced the history of the poncho back to 500 B.C. along the Andes Mountains. The natives known as the Paracas were from South America from lands such as modern day Bolivia and Peru. Over hundreds of years, they slowly made their way into Mexican land.

Just a simple large sheet of fabric with a hole in its center for your head, ponchos have developed a few more features over the years. By the 1800s, ponchos were made with fasteners so that the sides could close around your body to provide better effectiveness. They also grew hoods that were added to the top of the center hole for further protection. By the 1800s everyone was wearing a poncho!And just 50 years after that, ponchos were adopted by the U.S. military. They started making their ponchos out of a latex-coated cloth that was waterproof and it became part of popular attire The military has become big fans of the poncho too.for soldiers in the Civil War. Not only would they use it for clothing, but they proved handy as a ground sheet to sleep on as well.

While ponchos are nowadays still strongly associated with the Americas and the natives who first created them, they have made a comeback in modern fashion as well. Designed as articles of Ponchos are a point of fashion nowadays.fashion, the simple sheet shape hasn’t changed, but the material of these fashionable ponchos are typically knit from wool or yarn.

Take a look at the ponchos in our Rain Gear Department which you can look at by clicking here and, as always, thanks for reading!

- John

Bulls Eye!

Hey, Gamers!

Games are always a surefire way to get some fun going between you a friend, a bunch of friends, or even a bunch of strangers—like all the new kids you meet at camp. In an attempt to pass the time, have fun, and relax, people have played games as far back as history can show us. Chess came around in the 500s and Backgammon was about 2000 One of the first games ever invented.years before that! Even older is a game called Senet that they played in Predynastic Egypt which makes it the oldest game as far as we know.

Games have taken on a number of different forms and even media—from board games to card games to sports games and video games. A number of games have positioned themselves on the fine line between game and sport with activities like Ping Pong and Billiards. Another ambiguous leisure activity is Darts.

Darts aren’t nearly as old as Senet or even Chess, but its history is an interesting one anyway. The game is rumored to have originated in medieval times (in the 1500s) when Henry VIII told his archers that he wanted them keeping their skills sharp year round. To avoid the cold weather, they maintained their aim by throwing their arrows indoors instead of shooting them. The arrows were eventually shortened for indoor use.

Darts was once played with your mouth.Since then, darts seem to have been a common game found in pubs across the European continent, yet, we only need to travel back less than 200 years for what we know to be the official start for the game of Darts. Records have been found as early as 1837 in which an adaptation of Darts was developed called “Puff and Dart”. The game involved a hollow cylinder and much lighter darts that were blown at a target instead of thrown.

Any Dart games prior to “Puff and Dart” are assumed to have had the same style point system as indicated by an archery target. The scoring system of “Puff and Dart” was based on the number of “puffs” a player took to hit a certain number (along the lines of strokes in a golf game). But things changed drastically after “Puff and Dart”.

The “Puff and Dart” game did not have a lasting stay as accidental sucking instead of blowing brought about a number of deaths. But that didn’t mean the end of Darts! People reverted back to throwing heavier darts. And, in 1896, an Englishman named Brian Gamlin designed the modern dartboard with the numbering layout that’s now well known today.
Fun for campers and safe at camp, get your Magnetic Darts Set from Everything Summer Camp.
Fans of the game of Darts ourselves, we’re happy to offer this kid-friendly Magnetic Darts and Dartboard Game Set here at Everything Summer Camp. Check it out right here and, as always, thanks for reading!

- John

Happy Third of July!

Hey, Patriots!

Tomorrow is our nation’s Independence Day! Our country is chock-full of national monuments. From the Golden Gate Bridge to the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial and Mount Rushmore, you can look to many different things that carry symbolism for our country. We’ve been ramping up for this holiday at Everything Summer Camp with our patriotic Seasonal Trunks dressed up in red, white, and blue.

And with the Fourth of July now just one day away, I’ve selected four well-recognized symbols of our nation to dissect and explain the reasoning behind them in celebration today.

The American Bald Eagle
In order to express a sense of identification and reputation, nations select their own national tree, flower, bird, etc. The bald eagle is the national bird of the United StaThis bird of prey was selected for America's national bird.tes. It was chosen to represent the freedom, strength, and independence of American life. At the time, the Bald Eagle was thought to inhabit exclusively the North American continent and—despite Benjamin Franklin’s lobbying for the turkey–the strength and majesty of the Bald Eagle won this bird its place to represent our nation.

The Liberty Bell
When the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia, 1776, our forefathers were obliged to read the document to the puRing my country's bell. Ring my bell.blic. In order to gather the colonials in the town center, they rang the Liberty Bell. Still in existence more than 240 years later, The Liberty Bell still exists to this day and can be seen on display at the Liberty Bell Center in Pennsylvania. It was cracked some time in the 1800s (with vague record) but continued to travel the country for town gatherings on the Fourth of July until 1915.

Statue of Liberty
Like a guardian angel, The Statue of Liberty towers over the New York islands as oneThis lady Libertas is the goddess of freedom. of our nation’s most recognizable monuments. Lady Liberty was constructed in France as a gift to the U.S. Built of a steel frame and covered in sheets of copper the statue took about a decade to be completed. It was then disassembled and shipped to the New York Harbor where it was then put back together again over the course of several months. Designed after the Roman goddess, Libertas, she continues to be a strong symbol of our country’s freedom.

The American Flag
Featuring 13 red and white stripes and 50 stars to symbolize the 50 states and 13 original colonies, the American Flag is an incredibly iconic image, but it hasn’t always looked the same. Modernly known as the Betsy-Originally only 13, the flag has undergone many different changes to accommodate the other 37 states that would eventually join the nation.Ross Flag or Colonial Flag, the American Flag was changed more than 25 times as stars continued to be added as territories were annexed into states. We finally designed our modern flag in 1960 after Hawaii, our 50th state, was granted its statehood.

The more you know, the more you can appreciate the historic significance behind our nation’s most iconic symbols. You can also look into previous posts about the history of our Independence Day by clicking here and, as always, thanks for reading.

- John

How’s My Hair?

Hey, Camp Fans!

The history of things is interesting. Learning the origin and purpose of our own inventions typically says a great deal about who we are as a collective people. The history of the hairbrush tells us that we’re a crafty people with a universal desire to always be lookin’ good! And we’ve pretty much always been this way.
Combs are the predecessor to hairbrushes and they've been around much longer.
In fact, archeological digs for ancient artifacts in Egypt have revealed that combs—not to be confused with hairbrushes—have existed in primitive form as early back as 5500 B.C. Our Egyptian ancestors knew that the design of a comb would work best for untangling and straightening hair.

If a comb is like shampoo, then the hairbrush is like conditioner. Hairbrushes aren’t any help when it comes to tangled hair. You need to run a comb through it first. The comb makes your hair manageable. Now it’s ready for brushing—designed to massage your scalp, enhance circulation, and induce your scalp to release its natural oils.This thing is from the early 1800s.

While combs go back over 7000 years and maybe longer, hairbrushes have only been around for 240. A man named William Kent began making them by hand in England, 1777. He crafted them in the same fashion as the original toothbrushes (which you can read about by clicking here). He made his brushes with the hair of boars—which is still what they’re typically made of today.

Hairbrushes were initially only for the upper class that could afford products of such luxury. Of course, nowadays, most households are entitled to the luxury of hairbrushes. Pack one along for your summer camp stay and grab the Folding Brush with Mirror here at Everything Summer Camp. Keep your head feeling clean and looking good!
The hairbrush for your camp stay is right here at Everything Summer Camp.
You can get a closer look at the Folding Hairbrush on our website by clicking here and, as always, thanks for reading!

- John