Best Friends Animal Sanctuary is a “must” this summer for animal-loving children. In its second year, the Kids Camp is the place where children ages six through nine years old get the opportunity to learn about dogs, cats, horses, pigs, birds and bunnies. While the kids are having a blast, animal-loving parents have their own fun volunteering in the various animal areas. Kids Camp runs from June 1 through August 14 at the Sanctuary in Kanab from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and it’s all set up to coincide with summer vacations. And it’s free to Sanctuary visitors.
Fun and educational
Cathi Drinkard, senior manager in Best Friends' volunteer and visitor experience division, is thrilled with how last year’s Kids Camp went and looks forward to this summer’s camp being even better. “This summer we are excited to see Kids Camp grow, as last year was our first year,” says Cathi. “Staff in all of the animal areas are very happy to have the kids back as they enjoy sharing information about the species with which they work.”
There’s something fun for everyone. Last year campers visited horses, pigs, cats, dogs, puppies, bunnies and parrots. The kids get to ask questions of the staff and the counselors, who in turn spend time educating the children.
“Kids were especially happy to meet the pot-bellied pigs,” says Cathi. “This is a species that most kids are not familiar with, so they really enjoyed being able to interact with them.”
“I love how you let us pet the pigs,” said one young Kids Camp attendee.
And Kid’s Camp loves to mix it up. “Last year the kids got a tour of the clinic, visited the beehives on property (with a beekeeper and a lot of supervision), went on hikes, fed the fish at the Welcome Center and a variety of other things,” says Cathi.
The kids get plenty of hands-on fun and supervision. There’s a maximum ratio of eight children to two counselors. “We really want the kids to get a lot of individualized attention,” says Cathi.
Each day holds something new. There’s a five-day schedule with lesson plans created for every day, where the kids interact with different animals, learn about them, and then usually do a related craft activity.
Something for everyone
Last summer, nearly 70 children explored the wonderful world of animals at Best Friends’ Kids Camp. And all the kids had their own special takeaway.
Here’s what some of the kids said about the experience:
“The best part of camp was seeing the kittens in Cat World because they were so cute! There was nothing bad about camp. I loved it so much!”
“The best part of camp was the bunnies because I got to pet them and I gave the older bunnies treats. I loved everything.”
“I liked riding in the van, feeding fish, petting the puppies and seeing the rabbits.”
“I liked feeding the puppies and training them and seeing the cute kitties!”
And there was one there was one particularly poignant suggestion from a camper to improve the experience. “Give everyone a cat.”
While the Kids Camp won’t be giving away cats to each child, kids are free to negotiate with their parents about adding a new furry or feathered family member.
Learn more about Best Friends Kids Camp.