Beginning to panic about what you’re going to do with the kids this summer? If your child is an animal lover, we have a suggestion.
The Animal Shelter League sponsors our Kids ‘n Critters summer camp and it promises fun and learning for kids in grades 2 through 7. Camps run Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., with each one-week session geared to a different age level. That allows your child to make age appropriate friends who share their interest in animals.
The appropriate session is determined by the grade level your child will be going into next fall — the 2012-13 school year. Sessions for students going into 2nd and 3rd grades are June 18-22 or July 23-27. Sessions for students going into the 4th and 5th grades are July 9-13, July 30-Aug 3 or Aug 13-17. Sessions for students going into 6th and 7th grades are July 16-20 or August 6-10. The cost for a one week session is just $125; $100 for a second child in the same family and includes a camp T-shirt (scholarships are available for those with financial hardships).
Campers will learn about responsible pet care and animal issues and, of course, have some quality time daily with our shelter animals. Guest speakers include experts on various types of animals, dog training and health care for animals. Campers will do crafts and other hands-on learning projects, watch some fun videos and enjoy an animal related fieldtrip.
Teaching children to be responsible about their pets (past, present and future) is the primary goal of the program. Talks about the importance of microchips and ID tags (there wouldn’t be any stray animals at the shelter then, would there?) and spaying and neutering (we wouldn’t have litters of unwanted kittens anymore) are a central message. But it’s all presented in a fun, age-appropriate way.
Think your child would be interested in participating? Registration is taken on a first-come, first-serve basis. Space in each camp is limited so stop by the shelter during our open hours to reserve a place (payment must accompany the application to hold a spot in a session). Applications are now available either at the shelter or online at rpanimalshelter.org and sign-ups are accepted during our open hours: Wednesday 1-6:30 p.m.; Thursday, Friday and Saturday 1-5:30 p.m. and Sunday 1-4:30 p.m. For more information call the shelter at 707-584-1582.
If your teen has participated in the camps before and is above our 7th grade cut-off, we have a limited number of camp counselor assistant positions available. Counselors are volunteers who must commit to helping out for an entire week’s program. Enrollment is only $25 and they get to enjoy the speakers along with the campers. They'll assist with the crafts, supervise the campers and help with set-up and clean-up. Interested teens should inquire at the shelter for an application.
Older teens can spend their summer helping out at the shelter as junior volunteers. Our volunteer assistants, with the morning cleaning, make sure each animal has a clean house and bed and fresh food and water. We ask a minimum commitment of once a week throughout the summer to make it worthwhile and many of the junior volunteers continue to help out on weekends through the school year. Applications are now being accepted and students will be notified of the date of the next orientation.
Summer shouldn’t be boring for kids — there’s plenty to do right here at your local animal shelter!