Web-extra (September 27, 2018): Kids and Stamps; Ottawa Stamp Club Special Night, October 18.

Web-extra (September 27, 2018): Kids and Stamps;
Ottawa Stamp Club Special Night, October 18.

By Ian Smillie (Vice President, Ottawa Philatelic Society).

Stamp collecting—a popular hobby in the 1950s—seems to have gone into decline among today’s young people. The Ottawa Philatelic Society (OPS), Canada’s oldest stamp club, is doing something about it.

The OPS operates a “youth booth” every year at ORAPEX, Ottawa’s premiere annual stamp show and bourse, held at the RA Centre in May. Stamps, covers, albums and supplies donated by members and former collectors are available free to kids under 12. This year the club approached the Ottawa Public Library, offering a summer program for kids between the ages of seven and twelve. By the end of March, ten branches had signed up, with afternoon sessions in July and August. The turnout was good.

Now the club is planning a Kids Night at the Hintonburg Community Centre, Thursday evening, October 18, from 5:45 to 8:00 pm for kids under 14 accompanied by a parent. Club members will provide information and advice, and kids will be able to get free stamps, first day covers and stamp supplies.

One reason for the declining interest in stamp collecting may be the proliferation of distractions for kids today. Postal authorities around the world have added to the problem, issuing more and more stamps—in inverse proportion to their actual use for postal purposes. In 1952 you could buy the entire year’s Canadian output at the post office for precisely 38 cents. Today it will cost you upwards of $150.

But postage stamps are miniature works of art. Some commemorate famous people and events, others show animals and birds, flowers, railways, ships and planes, buildings and bridges, coats-of-arms and flags, space and sport. Stamps are educational and provide some of the nicest and most practical ways of learning about geography and history, politics and religion, and everyday ways of life in different parts of the world. Stamps also offer a window on postal services, a country’s postal history and its transport systems.

At the end of one of the library sessions this summer, kids were asked how many would like to start a collection. They held up the stamps they had gathered during the session, and they all said, “We already have!”

More information on the OPS can be found at https://www.ottawaphilatelicsociety.org/ and they can be reached at info@ottawaphilatelicsociety.org .

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