I have to admit that creating a schedule for our camp sessions is something that I dread. We have 40-some kids split up into 5 groups so that they get more one on one time with the animals and so that they can get more out of activities. Needless to say it gets complicated making sure that each group gets to experience the same things and figure out where each group will do their individual activities in the building without disrupting other campers or the regular business of camp. Additionally I have to make sure that the kids have a learning experience here at camp since our goal is that they come away from their time at HAWS with respect and responsibility for animals.
That being said, sometimes my carefully crafted schedule gets disrupted and the counselors are forced to be flexible enough to roll with the changes. Last week we had one such event when HAWS Mobile Adoption Coordinator, Johanna Schmanski was kind enough to bring her foster kittens in for the kids to meet.
Summer time at HAWS is what we call "kitten season". It's the time of year when tons of kittens are brought in from all over the county. Many of these kittens are too young to go up for adoption and are farmed out to foster homes until they're old enough at 8 weeks of age to return and find their new homes. Some of these kittens are too young even to eat solid food and need to be bottle fed.
Johanna's fosters happened to have been bottle babies, and so it was a great opportunity for the kids to learn about how foster homes care for very young kittens -- feeding them every 3 hours by bottle, helping them to potty by stimulating their bottoms, and how much work it is to care for them.
The kids were enthralled and thrilled when they were given a chance to feed the kittens themselves. And it was worth the disruption of my carefully planned out schedule.