From the Archives, April 19, 2020


Is there anything more quintessentially “camp” than the Gizmo? We discussed before that the Gizmo originated at Camp Stahlman with Claus “Dutch” Mann. It was one of the first ideas that came out of the short-lived Commissioner system that ran from 1971 to about 1976.

Why Dutch Mann? Because Dutch brought the idea of a “gizmo” from his time in the Army (he was part of 82nd Airborne and fought in WWII). Also, he was teaching leatherworking at the time. Thus, taking a leather medallion and stamping “Gizmo” on it was not a problem. Further, the Gizmo song was simply an adaptation of a song that was already being sung at camp–the Paw Paw Patch. It was the natural evolution of several strings and opened the door to a whole new world of lunchtime program that continues to evolve to this day.

Seen here is the earliest example of Gizmo that was have. This is a Dutch Mann original, created for Camp Parnell in 1976.

Gizmo Dutch

1976 Parnell Gizmo, created by Dutch Mann

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