Welcome to the Hunger Games!

I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that it is already August and Summer Reading is over. June and July were crazy busy with at least one Teen program every week, and hordes of kids at the library, and since it was summer reading the programs had to be bigger and better than the usual fare. It was my first Summer Reading Program and it was a little overwhelming at the beginning when I was trying to get everything planned and put together.

I’d been doing at least one program a week already so there wasn’t really a change in my schedule but I felt like my summer programs had to be really spectacular and draw in a big crowd. Numbers have dwindled since I started a year ago, and I realize that it’s perfectly normal to lose kids when there’s a change in management but I was hoping summer would be a chance for me to draw in new kids and beef up numbers. I thought that since school was out they’d be more inclined to come to library programs. I was mistaken.
I got only one new kid during the summer, but my core group came fairly consistently. And Once I decided what all the programs would be things were a little easier.

However I did completely forget to plan a kick-off party for the Teens. It was during the kick-off for the adults and kids when Teens started asking about that I realized I hadn’t planned anything. So then there was a mad scramble to get the materials out for kids to take.
Next year I will go into it with all the experiences from this summer and in theory things will go a little smoother. And after this year I will not forget to plan a kick-off party.

Now with the Summer Reading Program behind us I wanted to share my most successful program of the summer. The Hunger Games.

In our monthly bulletin I listed the event as “Hunger Games” and didn’t offer any sort of explanation. Just hinted that it would involve and actual hunger games competition, and right away it got a lot of hype. The Teens were super excited about it and couldn’t wait for the event.

When the Teens arrived I had them each write their name on a slip of paper and put it in the Reaping Jar. Then throughout the night I, or one of the Teens, would draw a name from the jar. If your name was drawn you lost. The last person standing at the end of the night won a Pop! Funko Katniss Figure.

For the rest of the event we did the Cornucopia Challenge. I had printed out and taped together a cornucopia that was hanging on the wall at one end of the room. Below that, spread out on a small table and the floor was a variety of items. Food, weapons, blanket, tarp, medical supplies, shoes etc. For this you could use real items, or toys, or just pictures. I printed out pictures of all the items and glued them onto construction paper to make them a little sturdier and easier for the kids to pick up during the race. Having real items adds a more exciting element to the game, but in my case, limited the number of items I could have and I wanted a lot to make the race last longer. I started off collecting items from a list I found online, but I ended up adding a lot of my own items as well.

The Teens were informed before the Challenge started that not all of the items would be helpful to them in the arena, so they had to choose things that they thought would be helpful, but I gave them no indication which ones would be best. Then they were split up into even teams and they relay raced to get the cornucopia items. One person from each team ran at a time, and they could only grab one item. When they got back to their team the next person could go. This continued until all the items were gone.

After the race I read a scenario to them about their time in the arena. They gained or lost points depending on what items they did or didn’t have. If the scenario said you get points for having a sword or an ax and one team had both they did not get double points. But there weren’t a lot of places where they lost points so I added some in as we went to keep the game more exciting. At the end of the scenario the team with the most points won.

Cornucopia Challenge Scenario
Cornucopia Challenge Items List

The prize for the winning team was a pizza party in the Teen Lounge where they could choose to watch a movie or play games. Since there were only eight kids at the program the four winners decided to invite the losing team to their pizza party. That was a proud moment for me.

They also asked me if we could have this program again with a different scenario; have it be an annual thing. That was the best response I’ve had to one of my programs and I’m looking forward to doing it again and finding ways to change it up and keep in interesting!

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