Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Hunger Games!

I love to take movies or books that the teens are excited about and turn them into evening activities. I've done Harry Potter Night and Peter Pan Night, and this year, I added Hunger Games Night to the repertoire. 

For those who aren't familiar with the story, the basic plot line is a teenage girl named Katniss who volunteers in her little sister's place to be a fighter in a modern-day version of Roman gladiator fights. But in this world, all the gladiators are children and only one can win.

With my co-worker Chloe and my faithful camper-workers, we prepared for the epic evening. The workers chose roles and rehearsed their parts with me in the days prior. It was their suggestions and eager participation that made the event a success.  

We had all the main characters. We even had some evil Peacekeepers, mutts, and a Capitol camera crew to record all the excitement.

As in the story, we had a "reaping", where 24 children were chosen to represent their districts in the Hunger Games. Before the fighting started, each district had to adorn their "tributes" in the unique style of their home and parade them in front of everyone. And just like the story, it was poor little District 12, Katniss' district, that won the crowd's favor.

Then the Games began! Tributes were set loose all over camp to hide or to "kill" each other by pulling a flag from their oppenents like one would do in flag football. Meanwhile, the other members of the districts performed tasks such as fetching water and picking blueberries to earn "gifts" for their tributes: sneakers so they wouldn't have to run through the woods barefoot and a drink of water. When things seemed to be getting a little quiet, I unleashed my secret weapon, a team of "mutts", terrifying dog-like creatures (played by the teenage boys), to kill tributes at my command.

All in all, it was a phenomenal evening. I'm not sure who had more fun, me watching it all unfold as I'd planned, or the campers partaking in a fantasy they've all grown to love. The best part, however, was the bond that formed between the kids who played the major roles. Perhaps it was the emotion they had to put into their performances, perhaps it was the type-casting by me, but either way, the relationships they acted that night were true by the end of the summer. And it was beautiful to watch.

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