We just completed our second year of Animal Camp and what a successful summer! Not only did the animals enjoy having so much attention from all the little visitors, but the campers also enjoyed interacting with the animals. When asked about their favorite part of camp, most of kids said "visiting with the cats!"
Campers participated in a variety of animal activities this summer. For example, campers made animal advertisements which we were able to hang up around the shelter in order to help with promotion of all the shelter guests. Some of our campers had the opportunity to learn about horses through a meet and greet where they were able to brush and feed a horse! A rabbit rescue group visited camp a number of times to teach about the care and needs of keeping a rabbit as a pet, but of course the best part was when everyone sat in a circle on the floor and the rabbits were able to hop around and visit. At our 6-8 grade camp we had a number of outstanding speakers, and all of the campers gave rave reviews of their presentations and at the opportunity to learn more about working with animals professionally in the future.
The 1-3 grade camp fostered animals for the week, plush animals that is. We treated
them as if they were real pets all week long. Campers were responsible for complete care of the pet including walking their animals, administering medications and gathering all the necessary supplies for each pet. Many parents use our camp as a resource to help prepare their children for the responsibility of caring for a real pet one day, which brings me to the story of Caty.
Caty joined us for the first time last summer and has participated in multiple of our programs since, including Animal Camp in July. Caty has been a joy to teach and always sends us a thank you card in the mail after she attends camp- how sweet is that? Every time I see her she tells me how she longs to have a pet but that her parents keep telling her she is not quite ready. And how although she really wanted a dog any pet would do since she did not have any animals in her home. I was elated for Caty when her mom mentioned to me on the last day of camp that they would soon be looking for a dog. Caty's mom and dad brought her to our annual Adopt-a-thon so that Caty could look for a dog, a real live dog of her very own! I was even more pleased to receive an e-mail from Caty's mom letting me know that she was able to rescue a wonderful dog from the event that day, Roxy a small terrier mix. Roxy and Caty seem to be a perfect match and I am so glad we were able to help Caty prepare to adopt a dog of her own as I know she will be a stellar pet parent. Congratulations Caty and family!
Here are a few notes from other Animal Camp parents:
"Emily and Megan had a great time at camp and are already looking forward to the next camp!"
"My daughter Audrey attended many camps this summer including Vacation Bible School, Club Sport Sports camp, and your SPCA camp. SPCA camp was by far her favorite. Your caring staff, and your curriculum provide a perfect blend of fun and education for children. Audrey learned more about pet responsibility but I think the primary difference is the respect and care with which you treat your students. Thank you so much and we look forward to attending for our third year next year!"
"My daughter, Annika, had a fantastic time last week at your camp. In the past, we had only heard great things about it and now we know for ourselves…yes…we plan to sign up again next year! We’ve been telling others about it, too. Hopefully, there will be room for us next year! Thank you for such a wonderfully informative and interesting program."
"Thank you to you, Michael and Sierra, my daughter (Kathryn) had a wonderful week.
I asked her if there was anything she would like to see done differently - she said no. As a parent I appreciated the education factor and the kitty cat toy crafts. I feel Kate came home with a better understanding of community - and how pets are a part of our families and community. I like that you gave them the opportunity to view a spay/neuter operation - and although Kate opted out - she still came home with a better understanding and brought home fabulous questions."
So as you can see our Animal Camp success can be measured in many different ways. From the children we educated and inspired, to the animals who found homes with a few of our campers and their families; it was all a success and we look forward to doing it again this winter!
For more information on Animal Camp or to check out our other education programs visit the education page on our website.