Thanks to the joint efforts of the Winchester Police Department, Clark County Sheriff’s Office, Clark County Public Schools and the local Alcohol Substance Abuse Program (ASAP), this is the second time Retro Bill has brought his safety program to Clark County.
Winchester Police officer Chris Cantor, who heads the DARE program, said Retro Bill was brought back a second time because he was such a hit with local students last spring.
“Retro Bill was awesome. He’s really funny and he’s a genuinely good guy,” Cantor said. “The kids really loved him last spring when he was here. We had more than 400 elementary kids at the high school and then at the preschool see him, so we wanted to bring him back again, this time for all the students in the DARE program to see him.”
Retro Bill, who in real life is writer, director, producer, actor and artist Bill Russ, said he likes to think of his program with its props and visual metaphors as “edutainment.”
“When kids come to my shows, they’re going to be entertained, but they’re also going to be educated,” he said. “I want to empower them to not let bullies or drugs or alcohol or tobacco get in the way of their dreams, but I also want them to have a good time.”
Teachers, parents and speakers like himself have to compete with other influences such as cell phones, social networking sites and video games for the kids’ attention, he said, so he first has to capture their attention, then he can deliver the “good stuff.”
“I love being able to take my fans and audience on a roller coaster ride where we laugh and we have fun and then, boom, I go right to their heart with something serious,” Retro Bill said. “Then we laugh and use some props and some humor then, boom, to the heart with something serious.”
When asked how he survived a grueling schedule that takes him on the road about 300 days a year, he said though it was tiring, doing something he truly loves to do is worth it.
“I believe that right now kids need good role models and I think as somebody in the entertainment business that it’s important that entertainers be role models to inspire these young children. So it’s a thrill for me to do this and it’s the thing that gives me energy when I’m schlepping my suitcases on and off planes and changing time zones,” he said. “I think it comes down to my simple message to everyone. In life you must follow your dreams and your passion because it makes a long, hard work day enjoyable, even though your tired at the end of the day, because you got to do what you love. I count my blessings every single day.”
More information about Retro Bill can be found at www.retrobill.com.
Contact Bob Flynn at firstname.lastname@example.org.