Julie Morris, Vice President, ASPCA National Shelter Outreach
HELLO MUDDAH, HELLO FADDAH ...
Welcome to Animal Friends Summer Camp!
On Cape Cod, MA, the Animal Friends Summer Camp is celebrating its 50th season. This unique day camp, specializing in activities that teach appreciation and respect for all living creatures, attracts campers aged 6 to 13 years from surrounding towns and as far away as England, Japan and Saudi Arabia. The Animal Friends Summer Camp is one of many programs of the century-old Animal Rescue League of Boston (The League), which operates animal shelters in Boston, Dedham, Cape Cod and Salem, MA. The League also provides rescue and emergency aid, outpatient and emergency veterinary care, humane education and law enforcement in eastern Massachusetts.
Crafts, sports and animals
For three or four weeks, campers spend their days on a beautiful 26-acre site that was left to The League in a bequest. Consisting of a farm, woodshop and arts-and-crafts center, the camp offers traditional activities such as team sports, candle making, macram, woodworking, photography and dramatic arts. Unlike other day camps, however, it also offers a variety of hands-on animal activities: horse care, farm life, small pet care, ocean ecology, nature exploration and pet visitation.
In small pet care, for example, campers learn how to handle and care for pocket pets such as gerbils, hamsters and guinea pigs as well as rabbits, birds and fish. In ocean ecology, they observe marine life in its natural environment and gain respect for our natural seashores. Horse care and farm life provide children opportunities to work firsthand with horses, goats, sheep, pigs and cows, learning how to care for them safely while discovering interesting facts about their new barnyard friends.
Even traditional camp activities have a humane slant. For instance, projects in woodworking include making birdhouses and learning about the proper use and location of such houses. Each day someone from the community or The League gives a special presentation on such topics as guide dogs for the blind, birds of prey, wildlife rehabilitation or reptile care. Some campers even participate in pet visitation, where they take a companion animal to visit residents of area nursing homes.
City sidewalks to sheep barns
For several years, the Animal Friends Summer Camp has conducted a special program with sixth-grade students from the Mary E. Curley School in Jamaica Plain, MA. Many students from this inner-city school have never seen farm animals -up close and personal- or been exposed to humane education values. League staff visits the Curley School from March through May to present programs such as responsible pet care, bite prevention and animal careers. Students then are invited to spend a week in June at camp. Each session seems to produce a new crop of budding animal enthusiasts!
Something for everyone
Another annual camp program is Campfest. This day-long event features a pet show for campers as well as area children and their companion animals, designed to teach responsible pet care; a giant yard sale that benefits the camp scholarship fund, and arts and crafts activities for all who attend. Campfest ’99 will be held on Saturday, July 19, at the campgrounds in Cataumet. If you don’t happen to live in eastern Massachusetts, many other humane societies offer summer camp or special activities for young people. Contact your local humane society for information about opportunities in your area. For more information on the Animal Friends Summer Camp or Campfest ’99, contact Camp Director Sonia Beals at the Animal Rescue League of Boston, P.O. Box 265, Boston, MA 02117; (617) 426-9180, ext. 119.
ASPCA Animal Watch – Summer 1999
© 1999 ASPCA
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