Last week, Logan Varnell, 7, labored over his phases-of-the-moon wreath in the Lab at the North Spokane Library.
It was Day 3 of Space Week at Camp Read-a-Rama, and Logan was all in.
“People have landed on the moon, but no females, yet,” he said, gesturing with his glue stick. “Neil Armstrong tested gravity on the moon with a falcon feather.”
His tablemate, Kambria DeGrohe, 10, smiled.
“He loves space!” she said.
Camp Read-a-Rama, the new addition to Spokane County Library District’s summer reading program, is a weekly half-day summer camp with a different theme each week based on a children’s book for all camp activities, crafts, music, and games.
“We wanted to do something a little different,” said Melanie Boerner, literacy program coordinator. “Parents were looking for a program where they could drop their children off for a bit.”
Parents and guardians can sign up children ages 6 to 11, for camp on a weekly basis. The themes of food, STEM, and space repeat over the seven weeks and cover the same books, crafts and activities.
A partnership with Excelerate Success and Americorps Vista provided the necessary volunteers for the free camp.
“The AmeriCorps volunteers are putting the program together and will be the camp counselors,” Boerner said. “We wouldn’t have the staff capacity otherwise.”
Community members are also pitching in, volunteering for storytime and doing STEM and food demos.
In addition, as part of the Spokane Public Schools Summer Meals programs, a morning snack and lunch are provided.
“This is kind of a pilot program,” Boerner said. “If it’s successful we may offer it at other libraries next year.”
She was right about the desire for an extended summer reading program.
“The first three weeks filled up within 10 minutes,” she said. “It prevents the ‘summer slide’ and kids can keep up with their reading.”
Indeed, a cart filled with books about space emptied quickly, as campers selected books to peruse during DEAR (Drop Everything And Read) time.
Martin Schut, 8, pointed to a book titled “Earth! My First 4.54 Million Years.”
“I’ve learned the earth’s nickname is Planet Awesome,” he said.
Meanwhile back at Logan’s table, talk of space exploration continued.
“The question is what’s after space?” asked Claudia Graham, 9.
“I don’t know,” said Logan. “Maybe black holes?”
“Maybe space is endless,” she replied.
Kambria has her own plans for space exploration.
“I want to go to Mars,” she said. “I want to be the first girl there.”
Claudia opined that some study would be needed.
“You have to study science and how to tie knots, so you don’t float away,” she said.
Logan would like to be an astronaut, but feels he should probably wait a bit.
“Seven’s no good for daredevil stuff,” he said. “Seven’s not good for landing on the moon.”
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