In talking to my Advisory Board, we decided to do something partially run by them (as a trial run, we’re new at Advisory Boards) to celebrate the end of school. They told me it couldn’t be the actual last week because of tests so we shifted to the week before. We settled on a Casino Night and started to advertise before the powers-that-be came back and asked that I not advertise it as a Casino Night due to the connotations so we changed the name to Games of Chance and Luck Night, but I’ll admit, we all referred to it as Casino Night to each other. I’m not sure if that changed who came or not.
We ran it later than our usual programs – from 5 to 6:30pm – and had it as a drop in. It ended up as a mix of casino games and arcade games. We had one of our teens learn how to play Blackjack and another Poker to be able to teach the others. Then we had a ring toss and bean bag toss, both of which we already owned. One of the teens learned a cool dice game (called 100) and another practiced up on his cup and ball game. Our final event was a rubber duck shoot using small Nerf guns and some of the library’s massive rubber duck collection. They could gain points at each event and earn candy (none of the parents even complained about me sugaring up the kids).
Each kid when they arrived got five raffle tickets they could use in a Chinese Auction consisting of various collected prizes, including quite a few ARCs from my trip to BEA. For those of you unfamiliar with them, and maybe they have another name elsewhere, it’s where the teens could spread the five raffle tickets out among the potential prizes in any way that they wanted – they could put all five in one bucket or one in five different buckets. I run it so that no one can win two prizes. If you get drawn for a second, you get your pick of which you want and the other gets redrawn.
The whole program cost very little, as we already had a bean bag toss and the ring toss. Other then some snacks and drinks, a couple additional prizes (not necessary) and we’d previously bought huge bags of candy before I started, I only bought the Nerf guns and those were three for $6 at Target.
I ended up getting about 20 kids, most of whom stayed the whole time. The best part was getting that group of kids who are generally considered ‘trouble’ and really being able to make a connection with them. Although I haven’t seen them all summer, I hope that the connection will remain when school starts back up in just about a month. My Advisory Board came through admirably and helped with set up and take down, making a breeze. So much so that we’re now planning on creating a Haunted House this fall for the elementary age kids because I can trust them to follow through.
All in all, a success and something that is not too hard to throw together. Have you run something similar? How’d it go? Anyone else ever had problems with calling something (without actual gambling) a ‘Casino’ night because of ages? Let me know in the comments or on facebook!