Sunday, February 16, 2014

Program: Dork Do-Gooder Day

This past fall, I discovered the Dork Do-Gooder campaign. Knowing the popularity of the series and always looking for programming to capitalize on such things, I seized the opportunity for my library to participate. We received a campaign kit, which included a cardboard standee to promote the campaign and our celebration in October (I told you I was behind on program write-ups). It also included 30 sign-up sheets and the promise of another package close to the end of the campaign with prizes for participants and activity suggestions for the celebration party.

All 30 of our sign-up sheets went out in September (when we started the campaign, though it technically started in August). In case the name is not explicit enough for you, the idea behind the campaign was to encourage kids to engage in "do-gooder" behavior, like Nikki Maxwell from the Dork Diaries books. Participants were to complete five do-gooder activities and return the form, signed by themselves and a parent, at our celebration in October. I also read all of the books that had been published up until that point for ideas for our party, at least partly because I had a hard time finding information on Dork Diaries programming.

True to their word, another package arrived at the end of September with prizes for participants: pins, stickers, and pencils, as well as a reproducible certificate and a small pamphlet with party ideas. I was extremely disappointed with the suggestions for activities and ultimately, decided not to use any of them, instead using ideas I had gained from reading through the books.

The day of our party arrived and we had an extremely disappointing turnout. Since all of our sign-up sheets had been taken and we can't keep any of the books on the shelves, I expected quite a crowd. Maybe it was a bad day of the week or maybe it doesn't create quite the same fervor as series like Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Whatever the reason, our party ended up being much more low-key than expected.

The activities I decided on came straight from the books. I bought 2-inch Styrofoam balls and broke 50 weeded CDs into pieces. I wanted attendees to glue the broken CD pieces onto the balls to create miniature disco balls. I provided colored jewels and sequins to add some color. The kids didn't really seem interested in doing it the way I envisioned. Most of them ended up jabbing the CD pieces into the Styrofoam, creating a much more dangerous version of the disco ball than I had intended (the CD pieces were sharp in some places).

I also created a trivia sheet with questions that I came up with myself while reading the books (and maybe the only reason I persisted in reading them). I'm not even sure that any of the girls who came to the program had read more than one of the books, if they'd read any. A couple of them tried the trivia sheets but none finished it.

The most popular activity was the fake tattoo station I set up. In one of the books, Nikki, who is a good artist, sells fake tattoos as a fundraiser for the school library. I dubbed myself the tattoo artist for the program (probably not the best choice, as my art skills are extremely limited). Thankfully, most of the girls requested pretty generic tattoos: peace signs, hearts, etc. One girl requested a flamingo - amazingly, I did a decent job if I do say so myself. Unfortunately, no pictures of the lovely flamingo, as I don't feel right posting pictures of young patrons on my personal blog.

At the end of the hour I'd allotted, I did a drawing for copies of some of the books that had been donated. I gave everyone their prizes for participating and I did have some stragglers turn in their forms a few days after the program. Those participants got prizes as well.

Overall, not my best program in terms of attendance, though I thought I did a good job of coming up with some creative ideas for the program itself. Did anyone host a more successful Dork Do-Gooder celebration?

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