WL Library to host fantasy camp based on book series
For one afternoon, local youth entering fourth through eighth grade can pretend they're descendants of Greek Gods.
The West Linn Public Library is hosting Camp Half Blood, a free drop-in camp from 2-4 p.m. Wednesday, July 24.
The camp is based on the fantasy adventure novels of "Percy Jackson" by Rick Riordan. In the novels, a half man, half goat takes the main character, Percy, to Camp Half Blood — a haven for children who have one Greek God parent. While at the camp, the children learn to fight, hone the skills inherited by their Greek God parent and protect themselves.
"I'm excited to see how many kids are that obsessed with Percy Jackson. It was much after my time and I read them and they were great; they're fun," said Rebecca Mayer, teen/tween librarian. "One of the things I love about them is the hero, Percy Jackson, is dyslexic, which is seen as typically a disability in its own way. In this story it's almost like a super-power … He's a demigod basically and he can only read ancient Greek correctly so it makes it seem like he's very special and he's got a super-power instead, which is awesome."
The West Linn Library previously hosted a smaller scale Camp Half Blood, along with the annual Harry Potter Night, where youth and families participate in Harry Potter-themed activities.
"The thing with Harry Potter is that the books are at least 20 years old so we have millennials that grew up with them who are introducing it to their young children," Mayer said. "With the span of both the books and movies being really fun and kind of cutesy at the beginning and getting dark and heavier toward the end, there's just a wide interest. Whereas in the Percy Jackson books, I think they're geared toward starting at this tween age (about 9-12). They're not as accessible to a younger child."
At the start of the camp, children can expect to spin an "oracle wheel" to find out which Greek God/Goddess is their patron.
The child will then research their God/Goddess to uncover stories, enemies, symbols, what they represent and more. The groups of children who receive the same God/Goddess will then go through various activity stations. Stations include cardboard shield making, Apollo's oracle, where children will discover the different constellations based on a connect the dots puzzle, Zeus's lightning throw — a pool noodle will be used like a javelin to see how far it can be thrown — and a Hermes fleet-of-foot obstacle race.
Children will also experience an escape room that the Teen Advisory Board created last year for West Linn's Old Time Fair.
"We are going to resurrect that, maybe make a few tweaks to make it more friendly to a younger age group, but for the most part we've had young kids doing it at the Old Time Fair and they seem to do just fine," Mayer said.
The camp will be at Hammerle Park, 1505 Lewis St., adjacent to Bolton Primary. Registration isn't required and youth from any community can attend.
"There's just something inherent in kids that gets (them) so excited about the idea of learning about myths," Mayer said. "The books in our section, over in the kids non-fiction, are never on the shelf. It's kind of like shooting fish in a barrel. It's like OK, someone will show up to this one."
Mayer reminds community members that the summer reading program is still in effect and youth have until Aug. 31 to turn in their reading logs.
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