Boulder County Kids celebrating 25 years

Courtesy photo

Founder of Boulder County Kids magazine, Jennifer Martin along with Steve Carr of Premier Credit Union presented Niwot Elementary School student Emmy Pridgen with a “Picture Perfect Award” and a $50 check. Pridgen received the honor because her artwork was selected for the cover of BCK’s spring 2019 issue. 

 

Going strong 25 years after its debut, Boulder County Kids (BCK) magazine is the area’s comprehensive guide for all things family oriented. The brainchild of Jennifer Martin, BCK is about to celebrate the publication of its 100th issue.

“It’s been a joy to do this over the years, “ Martin said. “Boulder County is extremely lucky to have the kind of facilities and diversity of activities for kids. There’s everything from paleontology to aerial dancing.”

Quarterly, Martin puts together a 40 to 65 page magazine with cover art created by a local student containing articles on education, health, travel, art, and advice on how to parent well. That means every February, May, August, and September 20,000 copies of BCK hit the stands.

Martin and her brother Mark Martin started Lincoln Kids in their hometown of Lincoln Neb. after hearing about similar magazines in other parts of the country. A year later, Jennifer Martin made the move on her own to Boulder and discovered a need she could fill with BCK. Her only investment was a computer she’d bought on credit. After just eight months of publishing BCK, the computer was paid off, Martin was able to quit her traditional day job, and the publication has been her career ever since.

“I sort of thought I was out of my mind for a while there because moving to a new community, not knowing anyone, and starting a new business is scary. But Boulder has been extremely kind to me,” she said. “It’s been a very nice way to be a part of the community.”

Using the phone book, Martin found businesses that worked with children and families. She filled them in on the goal of BCK and advertisers signed on. Many calls and issues later BCK doesn’t need an advertising department because, as Martin puts it, “the product kind of sells itself.”

In the beginning Martin would pick up and deliver the two tons of quarterly papers across the county. Nowadays she has a distribution company that takes each issue to more than 400 locations.

“You know, you just kind do what you need to do to make it work,” Martin said of getting the paper up and running. There were significant contributions by early employees she said, and today the staff is very small with Martin wearing most of the hats. A proofreader does a once over before it goes to press, but Martin does the entire layout of the magazine and works with advertisers.

It’s also been “magical” that there’s never a shortage of important content coming in. Guest experts offer to write about an array of topics including alternative health care, education for children with disabilities, and kid-friendly recipes.

Regular local contributors include ecologist, Dr. Oakley Thorne II of the Thorne Nature Experience, childcare consultant Jennifer Rodehaver, personal and organizational specialist Jessica Dancingheart, and play therapy expert Tatum Ohman Uhrick.

Every issue holds a three month calendar of family events. Timely directories are also regularly included. Fall 2019 features an index of area childcare and preschool options, afterschool programs, and birthday party venues. Spring issues are super-sized owing to a camp directory.

But Martin especially loves the art on the covers of each BCK. She has an art history degree and has worked at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Santa Fe Institute of Arts.

“I always want the paper to be an expression of the community,” Martin said “so it seems to me that using children’s artwork is a great way to do that.”

The student whose art is selected to be on the cover is honored at their school by BCK and Premier Members Credit Union and presented with the “Picture Perfect Award” – a giant sized $50 check and a gift bag.

Martin flashes back to her 10-year-old self when a poem she penned was accepted for publication in a local paper. It was a big deal she said because it gave her a sense of hope for what she could become in the future and sure enough, parents of cover artists have told Martin that their child’s Picture Perfect Award resulted in self-esteem and confidence.

These days, thanks to technology, Martin, who lives in Longmont, is able to relax and travel for two months between issues and then work hard the month before it goes to print. She’s conducted business while traveling to Japan, Africa, and India.

Because the paper is a resource that’s often retained, Martin is cognizant of being environmentally conscious and to that end prints each issue with soy ink and undistributed issues make their way to recycling facilities.

To celebrate the big anniversary, the cover of the 100th issue of BCK is a collage of past covers and there’s going to be a public party at the Carousel of Happiness in Nederland from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 28. There will be door prizes, entertainment and gift bags.

For more information on Boulder County Kids, the anniversary celebration, and to submit cover art, visit www.BoulderCountyKids.com