Guest Post: Camp Wonderopolis @ Prospect Community Library

Six libraries across the nation were awarded $1,500 grants, NCFL training, and Youth and Family Campsite Kits to implement Camp Wonderopolis programming this summer, thanks to generous support from Better World Books. These libraries provided Maker activities exclusively found in the Youth and Family Campsite Kit and suggested book pairings for each of the six Camp Wonderopolis tracks online. In this guest blog post, Prospect Community Library (Prospect, Penn.) shares how Camp Wonderopolis programming shaped summer learning for their families:

Nutrition Stories
Campers at Prospect Community Library learn and discuss the importance of eating the rainbow.

Our first Camp Wonderopolis Event took place just days after our library’s summer reading kick-off. We were hoping to capitalize on the excitement of the first days of summer vacation in order to grab the attention of our participating families and to encourage them to sign up for Camp Wonderopolis online. As our first “wonder” expedition, we chose to explore the Wonder Food Truck. In order to capture the interest of various ages of children, as well as the many adults, the event was divided into three portions.

First, several books geared towards teaching the value of eating the rainbow and why colorful foods are important were read and discussed. The kids especially enjoyed talking about their favorite fruits with their fellow campers. The children were very open about what fruits and vegetables they enjoyed and disliked, but all seemed to understand the importance of trying new foods and being open to new tastes. This helped to get everyone thinking about how vital nutrition is to our health and physical well-being.

Food Truck
Next, campers learned what it’s like to be a local food truck owner.

Attendees next had the chance to hear about how a real food truck operates. The Best Eats ‘n Treats food truck owner/operator spoke about the process involved in choosing a menu, purchasing the proper ingredients, and cooking in a healthy way when your kitchen is of the mobile variety. He stressed that they buy local whenever possible, and always have healthy options such as real fruit smoothies on their menu. Everyone enjoyed walking through the truck and seeing first-hand how difficult it is to cook in such close quarters.

Fruit Face
A happy face created by a camper.

Lastly, we used our newfound knowledge about the health benefits of eating right to choose a variety of fruits and create amazing food art. The fruits were grouped as a rainbow of colors so that everyone might take a wide sampling, from watermelon and orange peppers to kiwi and blackberries. Adults and children enjoyed choosing fruits together and working both in teams and as solo artists. While creativity is always stressed, there were sample pictures available to awe and inspire our campers. After all artwork was finished, the most fun activity was explored: eating!

While parents are always nearby at our library activities, Camp Wonderopolis’ intergenerational requirement gave us the push we needed to get parents involved on the next level. They were very interested to discover the Camp website and its activities as a way to both occupy and educate their children during rainy or intense summer weather. Working parents have especially found the website helpful because it allows them to spend educational time with their children that best fits into their family’s schedule. We hope that everyone enjoys their Camp Wonderopolis experience as much as we have!

Camp Wonderopolis is a virtual camp and online learning tool created by NCFL, which is available year-round to all families, libraries, schools, and community organizations.