I first held a Hunger Games-inspired program during the Teen Summer Reading Program in 2009, and it was one of the most successful events of the summer. When I learned that The Hunger Games movie would be released just prior to the start of spring break this year, I wanted to again try for a mid-afternoon, vaca-tion-time program. It’s always a risk to schedule events during any kind of break in the school year, but I can’t stay away from the logic that there are bunches of teens who are just home for the week, looking for a little entertainment.
The gamble paid off, and on Friday, March 30 I had a room full of Hunger Games fanatics, eager to see what was in store during this extravaganza. When they entered our meeting room, the first part of the program involved getting a Hunger Games name for the day; we used the site http://www.hungernames.com and as the naming went on, there were some laughs about which teens wound up being related as the web-site’s algorithm released the same last names.
First up for our main activities was The Cornucopia Challenge (we just used theone based on the first book in the trilogy). Assembling all the props on the list takes a little time and some creativity—I wound up making little slingshots, bows, and arrows out of poster board, and covering small boxes in paper and labeling them “fire starters” and “anti-venom.” I divided my group into 2 teams, and one by one, team members went to the “cornucopia” to select an item for their team. Be prepared for some creative interpretations of the story and how they might apply to some of the items. I had some feisty teens who were ready to argue every point given, but some good-natured teasing about how The Hunger Games really isn’t fair, in general, helped settle any problems.
We took a little snack break after the Cornucopia Challenge, and then redid our teams to compete in Hunger Games Trivia. My awesome coworker Sheila Grier had put together categories, point values, and questions to set the game up to look like Jeopardy. It was entertaining to get some really obscure questions in the 80 and 100 point categories that even the most die-hardbuffs couldn’t answer..
We wrapped up our day with a physical challenge and test of skills to impress any game-maker—a bean bag toss! To wrap things up, I held a raffle and gave away a $10 movie theater gift card—which the winning player promptly took to the theater later that day, presumably to watch The Hunger Games!
It was great fun to see the different teens come together, all with the common ground of being very, very, very into this series of books. Almost all of them had read the books, and a few had already seen the movie multiple times. One of my teens, a Hunger Games fan of the highest order, asked to borrow my Cornucopia props so she could replicate the program at her middle school during lunch one day. The spring break timing did indeed work well, as many of these teens said they had been sitting around all week, and I also attracted a few out-of-town teens whose parents had seen the event advertised and felt like it was a great thing for their teen to do while on vacation in Bend. Success, all around!