Friday, July 14, 2017

Summer Check-In #3

This week we met our signup goal!!! My director challenged us to sign up 5% of our population, which almost doubled how many we had been typically signing up. I was Very Skeptical. But we did it! Early this week she told us that whenever we met our goal, we would get to wear jeans for the rest of the summer, so the faster we met it the more jeans days we would get. And we hit our goal on Wednesday!

Also this week, I hit my wall where I started really wishing for summer to be over. It's a fun time of year with tons of families visiting us, but it's also time to start thinking about planning fall programming and the projects we need to be working on. It's hard to get started on that (even mentally) when you're giving so much energy to the summertime crowd.

Luckily for us, our summers here are short now. School starts in less than 2 weeks and we put up our Back to School displays this week.

Things have been hopping, but they are starting to slow down as people go on vacations and start squeezing in the last things they want to do before school starts. We are starting to get lots and lots of SRC finishers coming in to collect prizes and we're having to refill our prize cart at least once a day. We've run out of our marshmallow building Science Activity Pack, so we took that off the menu. 

Our Summer Reading In Your Neighborhood sites have slowed down, too. After the schools' camps ended in June, we no longer had a captive audience and we moved some of our sites and we've had (comparatively) few visits. It's got me thinking and thinking about what we're going to do next year - there's a lot of potential to capitalize on daycares and summer camps and maybe make it more of a mobile service (a mini-bookmobile) with one or two stationary spots that are more central to where people ARE. I'm wondering what would happen if we set up at Walmart on Saturdays, for example. Or maybe we need to be at a playground near public housing in the evening. 

I will meet with our interns to debrief the #instaLibrary program next week and my staff and I will talk about it at our department meeting. I want to get everyone's ideas for what we should keep  the same and what we should change and how we can keep building on this service. 

This week on our Engineering Table, we built with cardboard boxes, which means that my office finally doesn't look like a trash heap. ;) Although this is a very simple and obviously a homemade activity, this is one that I wanted to make SURE to include because this is a cheap activity idea that any parent could do at home. I don't get to throw them away quite yet; we're still saving these boxes for next week's Build-a-Thon program, which is going to be our last big children's program of the summer. 

Ms. B has been working on the Build-a-Thon program, which will be a self-directed building program. She's got several stations planned where families can build with all kinds of different materials. We'll set up all the stations and leave them up for several hours. We can bring out all the Engineering Table stuff we've used throughout the summer, plus our Lego collection. She's printing out tangrams that the kids can cut out and try to make the tangram shapes. And I don't know what else! I am very excited to see and I hope we have a great turnout. 

Our "reading log" continues to grow and I've noticed lots of kids and parents still stopping to take a look. Next year I'd love to explore ideas on how to make it a little less raggedy-looking. Of course I can laminate, but I also want to make it easy for my staff to add to it and laminating adds another step. Any other ideas? 

If you're still in the middle of everything (or maybe towards the beginning of your summer), I wish you strength. If you're starting to see the light at the end of summer, I wish you strength.  How's your summer going?