SPCA summer student had ‘absolute blast’ running summer camp

The SPCA's summer student watched some budding new environmentalists and animal rights advocates in the making during the association's annual summer camp.

After two weeks of wrangling 30 children, you might say that I’m a little tired.

In fact, on the final day, I got home by 6, was asleep by 6:30, and slept right on through to 6:30 the next morning. 

I am the summer student at the SPCA and my job this year was to organize and run the annual summer camp designed to educate and empower children on various animal issues. I knew from past experience with children that this might not be as easy as it sounded, but it turned out that I had an absolute blast.

Every day I saw something new that made me realize why educating kids and giving them a chance to experience issues firsthand is so important and rewarding.

The first week of the camp was 16 kids aged six to nine who were bursting with energy. On Monday, we had a tour at Little Qualicum Cheeseworks, the only SPCA-certified farm on Vancouver Island.

The bus ride took a little longer than expected and by the time we reached Parksville my head was ringing with a chorus of “Bums on the seats, please!”

At the farm, we had a wonderful wagon tour of and at the end, the children were allowed to enter the “critter” area, a grassy pasture with goats, sheep, a llama and a cat. Within moments, our group of bouncing children were transformed into a captivated whispering audience.

Each child couldn’t wait to show us just how cute the sheep they got to sit beside was. All it took to focus them was the heartbeat of a creature and a wooly coat to lace their fingers through.

“My favourite part was when one of sheep would just follow me around wherever I went and if I lay down, he would lay down beside me,” said Emily after the day at the farm.

Another of my favourite days was in the second week with the group of 10- to 12-year-olds. This group was significantly quieter but no less excited.

On the third day of camp we started our “take action” projects, which give the kids a chance to create a project around a specific animal issue, such as spaying and neutering or dogs in hot cars.

I was so impressed with the level of compassion and knowledge the kids had about all of the issues. Two of the girls even decided to write letters to mayors in the Valley about issues such as the Low Income Spay and Neuter Program, and dogs in hot cars.

“I don’t think it’s fair for dogs if they have to stay in a hot car with no food or water, and no fresh air,” said Sarah while writing her letter.

After two busy weeks including police dog presentations, Mountainaire Avian Rescue society (MARS) info sessions, CVNS guided walks and an SPCA tour day, myself and my volunteers (Cindy Russwurm, Elsie Hampshire and Erinn Eskilsson) were privileged to witness a group of children grow up just a little bit more and maybe, just maybe, we watched some budding new environmentalists and animal rights advocates in the making.

Thanks to the Comox Valley for giving us such an awesome two weeks!


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Trenton Golden Hawks are changing their name and uniform for one game on Nov. 27 as they become the Trenton Snowbirds for one game to honour Capt. Jennifer Casey. Twitter photo
Hockey team honouring fallen Snowbird with Comox Valley connection

The Trenton Golden Hawks will become the Trenton Snowbirds for one game

A late-blooming Welsh poppy gave the Cox garden some unexpected colour last month. Photo by Leslie Cox
DUCHESS OF DIRT: La Nina signs not necessarily steeped in science

LESLIE COX Special to The Record I am beginning to think climate… Continue reading

The suspect is described as approximately 20-25 years old, between 5’3 to 5’4, with dark hair. He was wearing black Adidas pants, white shoes, and a puffy grey jacket. Photo supplied
Attempted robbery in Courtenay

Investigators from the Comox Valley RCMP Major Crime Unit are investigating

The Fifth Street Bridge requires structural improvements, new coating to repair and prevent corrosion, and deck repairs. File photo
Fifth Street Bridge repairs to proceed in Courtenay

The unofficial results are in for the Fifth Street Bridge Rehabilitation Alternative… Continue reading

Windy conditions in Nanaimo’s Lost Lake area. (News Bulletin file photo)
Wind warning issued for the east coast of Vancouver Island

Environment Canada says people ‘should be on the lookout’ for adverse weather conditions

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. daily COVID-19 cases hits record 941 on Tuesday

Further restrictions on indoor exercise take effect

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A fentanyl test strip is used at Vancouver Coastal Health in Vancouver, Tuesday, January, 21, 2020. The test strips will be made available to drug users to ensure that their drugs are safe and free of Fentanyl. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Drug overdoses lead to 5 deaths each day in October; drug toxicity continues to increase

COVID-19 crisis continues to exacerbate the overdose crisis

There was a fourth COVID-19 exposure on a flight at Comox airport on Nov.15. File photo
Fourth COVID-19 exposure on flight at Comox airport

The BCCDC recommends passengers on a domestic flight with a COVID-19 case should self-monitor

An employee of the Adventure Hotel was taken to hospital on Nov. 20 after she confronted a customer of Empire Coffee about not wearing a mask. File photo.
Nelson hotel employee suffers heart attack after being assaulted in anti-mask incident

An accountant at the Adventure Hotel is in hospital in Kelowna

Damien Smith, with father Thomas Smith, is “frozen” with joy as he watches a special message Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds recorded for Damien’s 9th birthday on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. (Contributed)
Shuswap boy celebrates 9th birthday with family, community and Ryan Reynolds

People from around the world send birthday cards showing young Canoe resident he’s not alone

(Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Refuse to follow B.C.’s mask mandate? Face a $230 fine

Masks are now required to be worn by all British Columbians, 12 years and older

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

Most Read