Sunday, November 16, 2014

Summer Program Recap Bonanza: Family Events

Yes, I am still woefully behind on pretty much everything - book reviews and program recaps. So, I'm going to try to lump some programs together and recap them quickly!

Summer Reading Kick-Off Carnival: for the first time, we decided to do a big kick-off event for our summer reading program. We hit the schools hard in the last few weeks to do some serious promotion and scheduled our carnival for the day after school ended, making it easier to remember. To say it was a success would be an understatement. We had over 500 people come to the carnival! It was crazy, hot, and tiring, but we'll definitely be doing it again next summer! What we did: football toss (with a sticker prize), glitter tattoos (OMG so popular!), summer reading club sign-up (in an attempt to make things easier on families, we convinced our adult services department to let us sign parents up at the same table as their kids), visit from the fire department (they came late and left early, but everyone was excited to see the fire truck), petting zoo (always have animals if you can!), duck pond (rubber ducks with numbers on the bottom for prizes), free Italian ice (thank you, Rita's!), therapy dogs (yes, more animals), free books (we gave a book to every child in attendance!), a simple craft (decorating a treat bag for their prizes using stamps), and sidewalk chalk (for creating artwork). PHEW! I'm tired just looking at that list! It was chaotic and we could not have done it without the full cooperation of our department and our teen volunteers!

Life-Sized Candyland: halfway through the summer, I apparently decided that we hadn't been crazy enough, so we held another gigantic program, once again utilizing our full department and our wonderful teen volunteers. Over 300 people came to visit our life-sized version of Candyland. Staff participated by costuming themselves as the beloved characters and manning stations inspired by each one. When families arrived, they checked in at our desk and received a gingerbread man (he would be stamped at each station) and a goodie bag (for all the treats they'd get while playing). They also drew their first card to see what station to start with (my ultimately pitiful attempt to prevent congestion at any one station). Each station had a set of oversize cards with pictures of the other stations on them. In my vision, this would make the "game" move much more quickly than if everyone followed the same order. However, my vision did not account for more than 300 players, so it didn't work out quite that way. The stations we had were: Queen Frostine (decorating a wand and receiving a sticker - and yes, I know she's a princess in the new version but she'll always be a queen to me!), Lord Licorice (tossing a giant licorice stick through a hoop and winning a miniature piece of licorice), Duchess of Swirl (balancing oversized pompoms on an ice cream cone and winning an ice cream pencil), Princess Lolly (putting together a simple puzzle and winning a lollipop from our lollipop tree), and Queen Candy (completing an obstacle course and winning a candy bar). Once again, it was chaotic and hot and tiring, but we got a ton of compliments on the program, so I imagine it'll make an appearance again in the future!

If you'd like more information, let me know in the comments!

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