Monday, July 18, 2016

Programming at the YMCA Summer Camps

Just a small portion of the seed balls that were made by the campers!
The Pollinator Paradise Project had a fun week bringing programming to Hamilton YMCA summer camps. We visited Benetto, Dr. Davey and Queen Victoria elementary schools, coming armed with activities and knowledge, aiming to educate the campers on local pollinators, and how they can get involved in helping protect them.

The campers, all very enthusiastic to play games and make crafts, were split into two groups to be rotated through the first two activities, which were making seed bombs, and a demonstration + game in the gym. The campers loved getting their hands dirty making the seed bombs, which contain the seeds of several species of plants--both native and pollinator friendly. 

One group commented that the clay used made their hands “silky smooth”, while others took full advantage of the opportunity to get dirty by getting clay all over their hands. 

In the gym at the second activity, campers were given cards with an animal, plant or pollinator on the front, and what that organism needed for their life -cycle on the back. They were then linked together using section of rope to demonstrate a food web, and show them how plants and animals are connected. We then removed the pollinators from the web, and saw how the web fell apart without pollinators. 

After the demonstration we played “pollinator tag”, which is a version of many campers' favourite game, “octopus”. The camper who was “it” would be our pollinator, and would tag the “flowers” to get their pollen. When the flowers were out, they became the wind and could also tag, but they had to remain in the same spot which they were tagged in. All the campers had a great time running around and pretending to be their favourite pollinator or flower! 

For the final activity, we brought the campers all back together again, but split them into teams for a few rounds of trivia. This involved spinning the trivia wheel (very popular!) to determine a category, and we would then ask a question about birds, butterflies, bees, plants or from the “mystery” category. Campers worked together in their teams to try to get the right answer to the questions in order to earn points. The competition got intense as each team tried to get the most points, but all campers played fairly and cooperated with each other. 

We certainly had a lot of fun, and we’re sure the campers did as well, as one claimed he “wants to come back to YMCA camp every year!”