WASHINGTON PARK — As the Green Power Ranger, actor Jason David Frank portrays one of the favorites: his character started out on the evil side but ended up as a great leader and teacher.
This week, Frank was in teacher mode again, visiting kids enrolled in a Chicago Park District camp in Washington Park and showing them a series of martial arts routines.
For the longtime co-star of "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers," martial arts is more than just TV magic: Frank began learning karate at age 4 and, as an adult, has competed in mixed martial arts. He is a member of the World Karate Union Hall of Fame.
"I want you all to listen and to be strong and smart," Frank, 39, told the children.
Frank has portrayed the Green Power Ranger, named Tommy Oliver, through five different Power Rangers series. The campers, ages 3 though 12, this summer participated in an array of activities at the camp: swimming, sports, dance, reading, crafts — and acting.
"They love acting. In fact, we just had a workshop the other day, so we thought this would be great for them," said Washington Park supervisor Janie Collins.
The children came dressed in a variety of super-hero costumes, including Spider-Man, Wonder Woman, and Captain America.
Frank surprised the kids with tickets to Wizard World Chicago Comic Con in Rosemont, where he is appearing this weekend.
Camper Damen Shaw, 8, dressed in a Mario Brothers costume, was thrilled. "I will go. I love super heroes," said Damen.
Collins said Frank's visit made for "an awesome time."
"I hope we can do it again next year," she said. As they say on the show, "Go Green Ranger, go!"