By Jonathan “J.C.” Cohen, Camp Director
At the end of last summer, we hosted a Mississippi College orientation retreat that included some time for participants to try out the Blob and the Wet Willie. When the retreat was over, we were going to take both down for the winter. As the students used the Blob that fateful afternoon, though, the outer fabric – already worn from seven summers of active use, finally wore out and tore open; alas, the last day of blobbing for the season was also the last day for our Blob. The manufacturer said the outer shell would last 5-7 years, so it wore out right on schedule. 2007-2013. But still, it was an emotional day…
Okay, that’s not completely accurate. I went to Springfield to talk about Jacobs Camp. When I found out they made the Blob in Springfield, I decided to pick it up myself. And, I requested a tour of the factory.
Yes, folks, you read that right: I got to tour Springfield Special Products, home of the original Water Blob.
I would love to tell you that, like Charlie entering Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, I was escorted through a grand entrance (by oompa-loompas – ne, blobba-lobbas?), and taken on a whirlwind journey through the spectacular, elaborate facility. (“Come with me and we’ll be in a world of true imagination.”) I would love to tell you that, but, alas, it wasn’t nearly that cinematic.
That said, I SO enjoyed my visit! Springfield Special Products has been family owned and operated for two generations, and I met the current husband-and-wife owners, and their daughter – the next generation. I met the guys who work in the back, assembling the various products that the company makes – yes, they do a lot more than just Blobs (although Blobs are the most awesome of the products they produce, in my camp-centric opinion). And, just like I imagined, I saw big rolls of material, a large sewing machine, and a very large heated steel press that is used to bond the vinyl material together. Yup, it was pretty awesome!
When kids come to camp, they get to have so many new experiences – be it trying a new activity, participating in a new Jewish experience, making a new friend, or interacting with the community in a different way. It’s one of the greatest things about going to Camp! Those new experiences become special memories that campers carry with them for years after.
For me as the camp director, after so many summers at camp, my new experiences are a lot fewer and far between. (I don’t have too many new conversations, either. And, those staff members with multiple summers under their belts can tell you that I repeatedly draw from the same limited, but inspiring pool of anecdotes.) So, getting to visit a new city in and of itself was quite enjoyable; and, getting to visit the Home of the Blob was more than just lagniappe – it was a grew new experience for me, and a new camp memory that I will carry with me for years to come.
But look at me blabbering on about the blob in this blog…