Mascot Training Camp Ongoing in Pennsylvania

August 22, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. mascot (n.) 
[mas-kot, -kuht] – a thing, animal or person, usually cartoonish, used to represent an organization
Example: The baseball team Tokyo Yomiuri Giants’ mascot is Giabbit, which looks like a rabbit.

2. prop (n.) [prop] – any item or object used while performing
Example: The dancer used a chair as a prop during his performance.

3. first-timer (n.) [furst-tahy-mer] – someone who experiences something  or does something for the first time
Example:  As a first-timer in Tokyo, he had difficulty understanding the city’s train system.

4. showcase (v.) [shoh-keys] – to present talents and skills in front of an audience
Example: Sports competitions showcase the skills of the athletes.

5. breathable (adj.) [bree-thuh-buhl] – describes something that has tiny holes to let air pass through
Example: It is very comfortable to wear breathable clothes in summer.

Read the text below.

A summer camp held near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in the US is helping train people become skilled mascots.

Erin Blank, an expert mascot, started Keystone Mascots fifteen years ago. She created the camp to help other people who were interested in becoming better mascots.

The camp teaches skills such as acting and using props. Campers are also educated on mascot rules and safety.

The campers include amateur and professional mascots from schools, sports teams and restaurants. Some of them are first-timers, while others have trained with Blank before. They say the camp helps them by developing their personalities and relieving their stress through fun physical activity.

As part of graduation, the mascots showcase what they have learned in camp through a  final performance at a minor league baseball game.

Blank says she has been passionate about being a mascot since she first wore a Cookie Monster costume at age 10. Now 42 years old, she continues to wear mascot costumes for numerous sports teams and organizations.

She also makes costumes in her studio. Blank uses a baseball helmet for the head and puts holes in the costume to make it breathable. Mascot costumes are also washable in water because people sweat heavily while wearing them.

Blank believes mascots create good public images for whatever they are representing. Mascots help raise the crowd’s excitement at sports events, and they can also build a friendly image for companies and organizations.  

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What do you think are the difficulties of being a mascot? Why do you think so?
·         Why do you think mascots are popular among audiences?

Discussion B

·         If you were the owner of a company, would you hire a mascot to represent your business? Why or why not?
·         Do you think the presence of mascots in sports competitions is important? Please explain your answer.

August 22, 2012