Wracking your brain for something fun and interesting for your kids to do this summer? You might not need to look any further than your local humane society.
More and more shelters and humane societies are offering summer day camps for kids of all ages, as a way to get kids involved in the shelter and spread support for the organization’s efforts throughout the community.
Something for Every Age
These camps aren’t about getting free volunteers in to clean cages! Summer camps are well-planned, in-depth programs with specific curriculum that leave children with memorable experiences and an appreciation and compassion for animals.
Developing the programs is a year-round effort, managed by trained humane educators and led by qualified instructors who also undergo specific training.
Depending on the age group, activities during camps range from pet-related crafts to pet care to games, speakers, and more.
Some shelters, for example, help kids connect with resident pets by assigning them one pet throughout the week of camp. The child gets to know the pet, helps with the animal’s care, draws pictures to decorate the pet’s cage, and more.
Younger kids might spend more time playing games and learning about fun animal facts, while older kids may perform age-appropriate duties like giving dogs baths or walking them.
Other shelters offer teenagers career camps where kids get to observe procedures in the shelter’s veterinary clinic and, in some cases, assist with minor care. Other facilities provide high school students “junior trainer” experiences where they receive hands-on instruction for basic dog training.
Summer camps at animal shelters make lasting impressions on many kids. Shelters report that many children return year after year for the camps and to volunteer.
Benefits For Shelters
Camps are fun for the kids, but they also benefit the shelters. With fees typically starting around $150 for a week-long session, camps provide a much needed stream of revenue for the organization.
And, shelters say, connecting with children and their families in this way helps increase donations, adoptions, foster families, and more.
Perhaps one of the most poignant benefits of introducing kids and their families to how a humane society works is to dispel myths about the pets there. There are many families that mistakenly believe shelter pets have behavior or physical problems. While that may be true for some, the majority of these pets are in shelters for reasons that have nothing to do with temperament or health.
Camps offer kids and their families an up-close look at the incredible pets available in animal shelters, rescues, and humane societies across the country.
And yes, some kids wrap up the summer with a new furry family member.
With pressure on parents to continually raise the bar for experiences for their children, summer camps at shelters offer lessons, memories, and a positive impact on the community.
To find out if there are summer camps or other programs for kids in your area, check out Crayons and Collars, a site dedicated to kids and pets. They’ve built a robust database of shelters offering kids’ programs for summer and year round.
Today we’re joining the Blog the Change for Animals because we want to show kids that helping animals in need is not only a cool thing to do, but it can also be lots of fun.
Do you think your kids would enjoy helping out at your local shelter? Please take a moment to share this post to spread the word and let kids everywhere know how fun and easy it is to make a difference!