From left: campers Sam

SPCA teaches animal empathy at summer camp in Victoria

Among Animals has grown immensely this year in terms of popularity

While the BCSPCA is well known for teaching animal care and safety at its youth camps, it’s hoping children will walk away with another important skill this summer — empathy.

The group’s Among Animals summer camp program, created last year, runs for a week and is open to ages six and seven.

“That’s the age when we really have to start teaching them about empathy,” said Breeanna McDonald, camp co-ordinator. “They’re interested in animals, a lot of them have pets at home, but they haven’t started thinking about the animals’ point of view.”

Along with educational activities like “canine safety tag” and making crafts like cat toys and “dog popsicles,” kids also get to interact with the shelter’s cats and other small animals. They also help with cleaning rat cages and see what kind of care owning a pet involves.

“A part of the program is changing their minds about what kind of pet they want,” McDonald said. “All the kids come in wanting a dog, which of course is a lot of work, but a few have ended up coming back to the shelter and adopting a rat.”

The summer camp is partly based on the BCSPCA’s Kindness Counts lesson plan, which also teaches animal empathy in kindergarten to Grade 2 classes, but also touches on other educational and safety lessons.

McDonald said that Among Animals, which runs from July 2 to Aug. 22, has grown immensely this year in terms of popularity, with nearly all spaces being filled by June.

“We tend to get kids who already love animals, so we’re reinforcing what they already know,” she said. “But when they leave they teach what they’ve learned to other kids.”

Just Posted

Greater Victoria is a tough market, even for former homeowners

Seniors often squeezed out of the housing market due to limited income

Garry Oak Meadow Marathon underway at Cattle Point

Every Sunday in February and March Friends of Uplands Park is seeking volunteers

Beauty Day spreads ‘brightness’ at Our Place

Volunteer hairdressers, estheticians, even a tarot card reader took part in the Victoria event

VIDEO: Historic night in Red Deer as 2019 Canada Winter Games kicks off

Star-studded Opening Ceremony features athletes from across Canada

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Names keep adding to vaccine petition started by B.C. mom

Maple Ridge mom started campaign to make vaccination a condition of attending school

Northern B.C. First Nation clan says ancient tools found at pipeline work site

Archeologists from the Smithsonian Institute estimate one of the stones found dates back up to 3500 years

Wilson-Raybould resignation stokes anger, frustration within veterans community

Liberals have had three veterans-affairs ministers — Kent Hehr, Seamus O’Regan and Wilson-Raybould

No Center of Gravity festival in Kelowna this summer: organizers

COG organizers said the hope is to return to the Okanagan in 2020

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Plecas won’t run in next election if B.C. legislature oversight reforms pass

B.C. Speaker and Abbotsford South MLA says he feels ‘great sympathy’ for Jody Wilson-Raybould

Most Read