Friday, August 21, 2009

Camp is Over, But Not Forgotten

Camp ended a week ago, and I'd like to be able to say that the activity room is a lot quieter, but that's just not true! HAWS has been under construction since early June -- most of the work has been on the front of the building, but with the addition of new space we are required to put in a new sprinkler system. We've exchanged the sound of kids laughing and yelling with the sound of sawing and pounding.

You might think that now that camp is over I've put it behind me until I need to start planning for the summer of 2010. Actually -- I've already started to plan for 2010! One of the things I did this year was to put together a survey for the parents to fill out. Overall we got some very positive feedback, such as the following:

- My daughter is already planning on attending next year and her younger brother will be old enough, so it is on his calendar as well!
- my daughter loves it. She is a budding vet (or something) and has a great time at camp always!!
- My niece was in town and would have loved to do camp. She is interested in starting a similar camp at their humane society in Virginia.
- My daughter had a really fun time at the camp. I wish I hadn't waited to sign her up so she could have gotten into both weeks. Thanks so much for offering this camp. I will make sure I look into registering earlier.
- very very fun
- my daughter loves animals and she had so much fun - she wants to go back the rest of the week. I wish we had signed up for one of the 5 day camps.
- My daughter loved it. Not one complaint.

Not all the survery results were positive. Some of the parents requested more time with the animals and (suprisingly) more volunteer work cleaning cages. One parent complained about the 1/2 an hour after lunch that we have the kids watch animal related movies (most educational), one said we should have a movie with popcorn, and one requested better movies. One child complained about the outdoor games we play, and one stated he would like more outdoor playtime.

Truly we are not going to be able to please every child and every parent -- but were certainly can (and will) try. One of the comments from a parent was that her son told her that if he was bored or didn't like an activity there was a new one starting within a half an hour so it wasn't so bad. So that tells me that we're on the right track.

The survey results are very important to me. While it's a bit demoralizing to hear that our camp program isn't 100% fantastic, it also gives me very important information on how next year's camp can be better.

And the building addition will be a big factor in making that happen. We will have an additional meeting room so that we can have more children attending camp, but fewer in the same room; and more nooks and crannies. We can have smaller groups of kids interacting with an animal at a time - a better experience for both the children and the animal. And we will definately put more animal interaction into our schedule (currently they interact with animals between 5 and 6 times a day for 15 minutes to 1/2 an hour at a time).

If you have any suggestions I'd love to hear them!

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