For my first post on this blog, I decided that it would be fun to talk about the recent Hunger Games program that I hosted on Saturday, March 10th, 2012. Some other local teen library people were asking me about it and one suggested I send out my program to various young adult listservs and such. However, I think it would be easier if all the content was located somewhere easy to get to on the net, so I created this blog.
My program, entitled The Hunger Games Arena Challenge, took place at my library branch in Erlanger, KY over this past weekend and lasted from 5:30 until 9:30. With the approaching release of The Hunger Games in theaters, it was obviously the perfect time to host such a program. In my pretty short time as a Young Adult Programmer/Librarian, this program was by far the most complicated and widely attended program I have ever created or hosted. I had read a lot about what other libraries were doing this March or had done in the past as the books were coming out and I wanted to not only use some of their ideas, but also incorporate some of my own. A portion of my program was based on the program done by the Bethany Media Center and can be viewed here. What it turned into was controlled chaos, but a highly successful and fun teen program. I ended up with 59 teens at the program, so I consider this a big success.
Allow me to explain. Along the way there will be photographs and images of the activities and some of the paperwork I used like score sheets to give you a better idea of what things looked like and so that, if you want, you can use the ideas too.
Due to the fact that our program dates and information have to be in to our PR department at least two months in advance, I started planning this bad boy pretty early. I wanted the program to be pretty big and have lots of teens attend, so I decided that I wanted to require registration and cap the registration list at 60 teens, with a waiting list in reserve just in case. Those 60 teens would be split into 12 teams (which represented the 12 districts in the book) and be comprised of five teens on each team. Each team would participate in various challenges (what I called Hunger Stations) and the team that scored the highest would win movie cards to Rave Motion Pictures (a local theater) to see the movie when it came out. Since they registered, I already had name tags made up for the participants. I also gave each team a score card on the day of the program for them to keep which included the names of their team members, their district number and their district’s trade. I knew that with that many teens in one place with the building to themselves would require some reinforcements. I emailed staff and got six other people to help out, which was a godsend because I could not have done this alone. The staff turned out to be a group of super awesome people, so we agreed that we would all dress up and get in character for the event. We dressed up like Capitol game makers and wore makeup and colored our hair with bright, crazy spray on colors (my hair was bright blue for instance). There are pictures of all this toward the end. Once I knew how many people I wanted and had the staff support and the date nailed down, I started planning out activities. I settled with six activities that I felt would be fun and be pretty easy to implement and score.
Here are the six activities I planned:
- Hunger Games Trivia: Teams must put their heads together to answer as many questions correctly as possible. The questions only covered the first book. I pulled many questions from the aforementioned Bethany Media Center program, but to be honest, I found quite a few typos, vague questions and sometimes the key was incorrect. So I edited the trivia heavily. I ended up with 94 questions worth a total of 100 points. The file information is below.
- Katniss Archery: Some staff members were kind enough to let me borrow Nerf bow and arrow sets. Participants would shoot arrows at targets which were worth 5, 10 or 15 points depending on the distance. Each person was allowed four shots and they could drop their worst shot. We set this up in our book stacks, allowing the aisles of books to serve as shooting ranges. Three teams were shooting at once which required three bow and arrow sets and three aisles down which to shoot. The targets were made of printer box tops with printed out targets taped to them and affixed to the shelves using Velcro sticky back. See below for photos.
- Cornucopia Challenge: This event was based heavily on the aforementioned Bethany Media Center program, but was also edited a lot. The item list wasn’t complete enough for me and the story that went along with the event also contained many errors, so I changed some of it. In short, this is a relay race in which three teams would square off against each other to gather as many items from the cornucopia as possible. One team member would race across the meeting room to where the items were, grab one item and return to their team to tag the next person. Repeat until all items are picked up. Then the staff member present would read from the story which gave point values to the items they collected. Some items were worth points, some deducted points and others were worthless. The items included on my list which is later in the post are only those with positive or negative point values. All those items were brought from my home or borrowed from other staff members. Sometimes I had to create facsimiles of the items. I also grabbed a whole bunch of random, meaningless filler items to make the race last longer. The teens had no idea which items would help or hinder them, so they grabbed whatever they could.
- Arena Food Challenge: Each team nominated one person to eat as much of some nasty food as possible. I wanted a food that people do eat, but it’s not one that people like to eat a lot of. What I settled on was sauerkraut because it was cheap, smells awful and it’s difficult to eat a lot of it. I allowed two minutes for participants to down as many one ounce containers of sauerkraut as possible. One team actually got 16 ounces down! Beware, some teens may not be able to stomach this. Have trash cans at the ready as well as water.
- Dress Up a Tribute: I asked staff members to donate old, unwanted clothing items and costume items. I also raided our Children’s department of essential crafting supplies like felt, scissors, colored pencils, markers, staplers and tape (but I asked first). Each district chose one member to be the runner to go to the the supply bins and another member to be dressed up as their district’s tribute (like the pre-games parade in the book). They had 25 minutes to create a costume out of provided materials and I encouraged them to theme the costume with their district’s trade. Afterwards their photos were taken and we judged them based on creativity and trade relevance on a scale of 1-100. After the program, I donated all the usable clothing items to a nearby Goodwill.
- Tracker Jacker Battle: This is basically extreme tag. It is also complete chaos, so I don’t recommend you do this unless you have a nice flat, clear area free of any obstacles in which teens can run around like crazy people and “attack” each other. Each team sent two members into this challenge. One was the tracker jacker, and they were equipped with a roll of stickers with which to sting others with. The other team member was the target, denoted with bright duct tape on their shoulders. The tracker jackers would attempt to “sting” the backs of the other teams’ targets. The more stickers a target had on their back at the conclusion of the event, that’s how many points their team lost from their overall score. If a sticker was anywhere else besides the person’s back, it did not count. I had one girl fall and hurt herself because people were going nuts during this event, so please encourage them to be careful! We had to get her a pack of ice and she sat out the rest of the event.
So now you have basic idea of what was supposed to happen. Time to explain how things went down. We scheduled the program for 5:30 but didn’t actually start until 6:00 (when my branch closes on Saturdays) to account for the chronically late teen. However, at 6:00 when the library closed, we promptly showed the teens a short video I made to get them in the Hunger Games mood and it also served as a general explanation of what to expect during the program and the general rules. The video was created in Windows Live Movie Maker using a few stock pieces of photo and video. The vocal effect was created with a Korg Kaossilator Pro and a basic studio microphone. I recorded the voice into the free audio program called Audacity and exported it as an .mp3 file. Here is a link to the video at Vimeo, but it’s also embedded below. Video.
Below are pictures and such of the events in action and the things I used to make everything run as smoothly as possible.
Firstly, here is the flyer that my PR department drafted up. It looks great! When I bought the movie cards from Rave Motion Pictures, they allowed me to post this flyer in their lobby. I highly recommend creating a good relationship with an area theater. Of the three major theaters in my area (AMC, Great Escape and Rave), only Rave agreed to have me post this and were super kind. This was also blown up onto a huge sign to put in our lobby area. Anyway, here is the flyer.
Yes, the mockingjay pin logo is okay to use according to the publishers. We asked.
Here is the schedule I created to keep all staff members on the same page:
Hunger Games Schedule
As you can see from the schedule, we did the trivia, archery and cornucopia challenges simultaneously in different places. Then we went back into the big meeting room and did the final three challenges one after another. After the last challenge, the teens had pizza (which I ordered a few days ahead of time for a preset time to be delivered) and while they were chowing we finished up scoring all the challenges. After that, we announced the winners, handed out the movie cards and then raffled off some posters and things for everyone else. Josh Hutcherson had come to our library a couple years ago and posed for a read poster, so I had about six copies of that poster to give away. The girls went nuts over those!
Here is the trivia I used as well as a key:
HUNGER GAMES TRIVIA
HUNGER GAMES TRIVIA key
Here is the Cornucopia Challenge story and item list:
Cornucopia Competition Story
HUNGER GAMES CORNUCOPIA ITEMS
Here is the score sheet I used and the form we used to judge the costume photos.
Picture Voting Card
Now for pictures!
Here are some pictures of the teens hard at work answering those 94 trivia questions within a 30 minutes time limit:
Here are some photos of the archery challenge. This station lasted 15 minutes. There are still a couple stray arrows lost amidst the books…
This is what the aisles looked like when we turned them into shooting ranges.
Here are some photos from the cornucopia challenge. Some are of the race itself and others are the teens sitting down listening to the story so they could earn points.
Here are some shots of the Dress Up a Tribute portion. The costumes mostly turned out awesome. They were so creative and had thoughtful explanations for the judges as to why they chose to do what they did.
Here are some photos taken during the eating contest.
Here are some shots of the chaos that was the tracker jacker battle.
Here are some sweet shots of me and the other staff members dressed up with our crazy hair.
Game Makers! (That's me at the top.)
For those who may be curious, District 4 (Fishing) was victorious and those tributes are now happily in possession of movie cards so that they don’t have to pay for admission! If you have any questions about any of this, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would be more than happy to answer anything you can throw at me.
Here is my contact info:
Erlanger Public Library
(859) 962-4000 ext. 4111