Talent pops up on Saturday night Featured

“Village People” (left to right): Rob Hickman, Steve Lange, Pat Adkins and Steve Levorchick with Beacon publisher John Schaffner.

LEAP organizers Tricia O’Connor, Carol Clemons and Melissa Bayer.

Saturday evening, at the Elks Lodge on Buckeye Boulevard in Port Clinton, Leadership Ottawa County (LOC) hosted the first ever Pop-Up Talent evening, a benefit for the Lake Erie Adventure Playground (LEAP) program in Ottawa County. The event raised funds for the fledging program that encourages creative adventure play at locations and events around the county. 

The event

The Naked Bacon Band (Steve Hall, David Hermes and Sara Rine) entertained during dinner and backed up several of the ensuing acts. The evening’s emcee, Beacon publisher John Schaffner, kicked off the local talent performances by leading the crowd in a rousing rendition of “Hang on Sloopy”. 

Riverview Healthcare Campus Administrator Kendra German mesmerized the audience with her beautiful solo. Ottawa County Commissioner and long-time farmer Jim Sass, dressed in his finest farmer finery, called his pigs and found a few. Chris Galvin, Area Director of United Way in Ottawa County, led the audience in a round of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” and then turned the room into a vocal calliope. Victorian Inn owner Ann Duez and Black Tie Dance Studio’s Tim Nyman performed an elegant cha-cha, and the Leadership Ottawa County class entertained in song. 

The talent show concluded with a memorable rendition of “YMCA” by Ottawa County Sheriff Steve Levorchick, Port Clinton Police Chief Rob Hickman, Port Clinton Schools Superintendent Patrick Adkins and Steve Lange with Ottawa County sanitary engineer. Levorchick then handcuffed Schaffner, who gamely proceeded with emcee duties in the bracelets until keys could be located.

The need

LEAP is a cooperative effort of the LEAP team of Tricia O’Connor, Melissa Bayer and Carol Clemons, LOC and United Way in Ottawa County. The program is dedicated to supporting children’s play for its own sake. Respecting and supporting children’s freedom, pop-up adventure playgrounds reach out to children in schools, public parks, festivals and anywhere that children are already gathering. When events are held in public places, new ways of connecting children with each other, children to the community, and adults with each other are experienced. 

Most of us that are adults today grew up playing outside, in vacant lots and the streets, with stones and dirt, using empty cardboard boxes to build forts, building our creative and problem-solving muscles and inter-personal communication skills along the way. Many of today’s children have little of that, and many adults have forgotten how to enjoy or demonstrate unstructured play. 

Kyung Hee Kim, professor of education and author of “The Creativity Crisis” states, “[Based on TTCT test results] children have become less emotionally expressive, less energetic, less talkative and verbally expressive, less humorous, less imaginative, less unconventional, less lively and passionate, less perceptive, less apt to connect seemingly irrelevant things, and less likely to see things from a different angle.” America’s Creativity Quotient has decreased each year since 1990. 85% of children in 2008 scored lower than an average child in 1984. Businesses report that high school graduates are not job force ready and lack life skills. Play is a crucial factor in building tomorrow’s creative thinkers and innovators.

An invitation to play

From the child-made centerpieces and playful props such as pool noodles, scarves and stuffed animal pigs, to the child-like enthusiasm of performers and attendees, Saturday evening honored the spirit of LEAP.

Adventure playgrounds will be at Port Clinton’s Art Walks, beginning May 22, at summer lunch program sites and at various festivals and locations. For more information or to volunteer with this innovative program, follow on Pop-up Play Port Clinton on Facebook or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 419-341-1558. For more information on Leadership Ottawa County, visit

Seven principles of adventure playgrounds:

1.Free for anyone to attend
2.Free for participants to come and go
3.Free to participate as they please
5.Stocked with every-day items
6.Safe from hazards, with space to grow
7.Commercial-free play

Pop Up Talent

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