It was while he was making his way out of the Fort McMurray during the spring 2016 wildfires Keith Muise came to a realization he was going to make the best out of life — to have a positive attitude and have fun making people laugh.
What made it even darker for Muise while escaping Fort McMurray wasn’t only taking 15 hours to go an equivalent distance between Stephenville and Deer Lake, but the fact his father-in-law Ross Cassell’s health took a turn for the worse. Unfortunately, Mr. Cassell died a couple of days later.
It was then Muise vowed out negativity and to be as positive as he can and do the most he can with sharing fun.
He had always made fun videos to cheer himself and his family up. After the fire, he wanted to extend that to others. That’s when he came up with "80’s Summer Camp."
Muise said as a child of the 1980s, he remembers goofball, enthusiastic movies with everyone happy and having a great time.
“That’s why my ideals became wrapped around unhinged positivity,” he said.
His videos are going out on YouTube, Facebook and are being spread on other types of social media.
“They’re about 'I’m going to have fun no matter what, even if it’s a rainy day,' ” Muise said.
Growing up in St. George’s and Stephenville, he came up with the character, Uncle Gussy, who is a mishmash of different people he’s known over the years.
Now home on holidays, he’s doing some videos in the area featuring Uncle Gussy, which are being filmed by Jonathan Myers and going out on social media.
Uncle Gussy is seen next to the Delta Dagger static display place, located near the Stephenville town hall in one and another he is filmed at the replica “base” entrance booth near McDonald’s Restaurant. The Uncle Gussy videos are getting thousands of hits.
Muise is doing another video at Domino Pizza House – a long established business known to locals and visitors.
But what's likely been his most popular to date is a video he recorded of himself singing a pardy of "American Pie" by Don McLean about Friday's loss of cell service.
Muise plans on making more area videos until he heads back to Alberta on Aug. 11.
Muise has also sold "80’s Summer Camp" t-shirts to support his project and said those who have purchased them become part of the camp mindset.
The fulltime special needs teacher does this as a side project from his regular job.
Muise and his wife Trista have a three-year-old son Kimble who is in some of the video posts.
He wants others to become part of the camp and send him videos of positive things for him to post on his Facebook site.