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December 6, 2006

So Girl Scouting CAN be Fun (at CAHS)

I confess: I hated being a Girl Scout. But I don’t remember ever doing anything this fun, either. Last Saturday, approximately 60 Brownie and Junior Girl Scouts invaded the Capital Area Humane Society for a three-hour program to work on their Animal Care Patches and Pet Care Badges. CAHS volunteer Jill Jameson and the CAHS staff have put together a terrific program where the girls learn first-hand about the needs of the shelter animals. Each time it’s held, this event is wildly successful.

It’s a crazy day full of learning, chatter, and laughter. The girls are split into groups that rotate between four learning stations: Animal Care, a tour of the shelter, Careers in Animal Care, and Making Treats for the Animals. In the Animal Care session, they are taught about the basic needs of all animals and what it takes to provide for those needs. This is followed by a tour of the CAHS facility where they can see how the staff cares for the animals at the shelter. During Careers in Animal Care, they hear from personnel in different fields of animal care speaking about what they do in their professions. In the last session, the girls make treats for the shelter animals. They bake cat, dog and rodent treats and roll hay bundles for the rabbits. The day wraps up with the girls sharing their homemade treats with the pets downstairs.

Though I’m no gourmet, I usually help with making the treats. While we mix, roll, and cut out our treats, we chat about the kinds of pets they have at home, and about the shelter pets awaiting new homes. We talk about the lessons they learned in the other sessions, and how to apply their new knowledge to caring for their own pets. Depending on the age group, our conversations can range from just plain silly to pondering pet overpopulation and euthanasia. I’m always amazed at how much they learn in a few short hours.

Since I’m not used to spending so much time with pre-teen girls, it’s an exhausting few hours, but well worth it. The girls undoubtedly come away with a better idea of responsible pet caretaking, including the importance of spaying or neutering. And, just briefly, I get to have fun being a Girl Scout!

If you are interested in helping with the next Girl Scout program (scheduled for February), please contact me at terri@columbusrabbit.org.

The Girl Scout program is one of the most successful new programs at the Capital Area Humane Society under the new Humane Education section, which teaches kids about caring for animals. The Humane Education program includes several modules for parents and teachers to use in helping their kids learn about the needs of different kinds of pets. For more information, visit http://www.ohiokidsloveanimals.org/

Posted by Terri at December 6, 2006 9:32 PM