Friday, May 11, 2012

Critter Club Weekend

It was a busy weekend for HAWS Critter Club kids as we had activities for them both on Saturday and on Sunday.

HAWS annual Walkathon was on Saturday.  I've always wanted the education department to have some kind of activity for kids to participate in while attending the walk, but never had the time to create something.  Since one of the things incorporated into the Critter Club agenda is projects that help HAWS, I delegated the responsibility of game creation and implementation onto the club members. 

I couldn't have been more pleased with the result.  The club members came up with a scavenger hunt for kids having to do with getting answers on dog safety questions.  Once they completed the scavenger worksheet the participants brought the sheet back to the education booth.  Club members checked it over for errors, explained any answers that were wrong, and every child who completed a worksheet got a prize. 

Not only did the Critter Club members come up with a really fun and educational game, but they did a fantastic job the day of the walk itself.  They went around finding kids to play, and handled the education aspect of it in a very kind and informative manner -- making the younger kids completely at ease.   

Additionally, Critter Club member Carly Perock was awarded the Diana Boettcher Youth Community Kindness Award for her outstanding volunteer work at HAWS through Critter Club, as well as for organizing a fundraiser for HAWS in which she managed to collect and donate several hundred dollars.  Carly has been a long-time participant in HAWS kids programs, and it's fun seeing her grow up to be not only an animal lover, but someone who cares enough to take time and energy to help them. 

On Sunday Critter Club went on a field trip to Heartland Farm Sanctuary in Verona, WI.  Heartland is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping homeless farm animals, while at the same time helping at-risk youth. 
Critter Club went to visit and also to help out.  Club members helped muck out stalls, brush goats and sheep, feed and water animals, and learn about caring for farm animals and their needs. 

Unfortunately the weather wasn't very cooperative -- as we pulled up to the sanctuary we were in the midst of a torrential downpour, and even in the short run from the bus to the barn resulted in most of the kids getting damp clothing and wet shoes from running through the puddles.  Despite this the kids all had a really great time and truly enjoyed cleaning up manure. 

I think one of the highlights for most of the kids was walking the 5 month old cow during a break in the storm.    While the kids all have a lot of experience walking large and sometimes difficult shelter dogs, they found out very quickly that it's much more difficult to move a large and stubborn cow. 

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