Thursday, July 22, 2010

Amazing Animals Summer Camp - An Update from the Counselors

Here is an update on Amazing Animals Summer Camp from camp counselors Sniffy (Noreena) and Spaz (Nick):

Tomorrow may be the last day of our current camp session, but there are still many sessions to come, and many more kids who are waiting to have some fun at Humane Society Silicon Valley (HSSV)! The past several days have gone by very quickly. One of the best parts of camp for the kids, based on what they keep talking about, was playing with HSSV’s adoptable kittens. We had all sat in circles in small groups and allowed a few kittens to play and meet us within the enclosed space. Everyone, after the lesson on cat body language, was attentive and considerate of the kittens’ needs—whether they needed a few minutes to rest, or simply some more time to get acquainted before letting themselves be pet and held. It was great to see teamwork and cooperation in passing around the toys, and a gentle shielding of any gaps between each other if a kitten tried to squeeze out of the circle! We counselors have come to the conclusion that interaction with animals brings out the best of these campers.

Presentations from Sulphur Creek Nature Center and an independent snake expert captured everyone’s attention. Sulphur Creek’s large owl stared imploringly back into its audience’s wide eyes, and they all gasped as the snake presenter lifted up his blue-tongued skink to his cheek for a “kiss” (which was, in fact, just the animal’s way of “tasting the air” with its tongue). We were impressed by several campers in particular that day. One girl named Ria seemed to know, or at least have a reasonably good guess to, the answer to every question that was asked about reptiles. Then, although she was visibly a little nervous, still volunteered to hold a snake—and offered again for another snake! Hands-on experiences truly enhanced the learning experience for the campers this week.

But all good things must come to an end, and today we participated again in our camp tradition of closing circle. However, after mention that Friday would be the last day, one camper named Rachel raised her voice and said, “I never want this camp to end!” Personally, that gives any of us who help manage this camp a sound sense of satisfaction. We are proud to be part of HSSV, that is clearly doing things right!

For more information about our Amazing Animals Summer Camp, please visit our website at

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