Camp found purr-fect way to teach work skills

Ozaukee Press staff

Smiles poured across kids’ faces as a kitten squirmed in their arms at the Wisconsin Humane Society’s Ozaukee campus in Saukville Tuesday morning.

Camp Unleashed, for grades four through six, has children playing games and interacting with animals for one week to bring both species together, something Wisconsin Humane Society Chief Executive Officer Anne Reed recently brought into its mission.

The mission was developed last year and is now coming to fruition.

“Our CEO transitioned into our evolved mission, and that includes people and animals,” Domonique Barley, the humane society’s director of youth programs, said. “With that refocus, youth programs have really started to bloom with possibilities of serving the people portion of our mission.”

Barley said the Humane Society starts with summer camps in hopes of transitioning campers into regular programming, which is designed to grow children’s love of animals and teach them marketable skills.

“We start focusing on leadership development and transferable skills,” Barley said. “Whether that’s having them work together as a team to being on time, it helps them figure out those soft skills.”

Campers were introduced to animals through games such as frogger, where they learned what animals eat flies, and hangman, letting campers discover a wide variety of animals. They also learned how to be good owners through lessons on what not to feed their pets and how to tell if a dog is at an appropriate body weight.

During the school year, children go through more in-depth training. When participants are 16, they become program assistants and learn about niches within the Humane Society, from media to information technology to animal care.

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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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