The campers would have happily spent the day just playing with the white, fluffy rabbits.
But there’s much more to accomplish at the annual summer Vet Camp, hosted at the Golden Isles College and Career Academy.
The camp introduces students ages 10 to 14 to the world of veterinary science.
“Vet Science camp is for those upper elementary and middle school students who have an interest in working with animals,” said Amy Stalvey, one of the camp’s directors, on Wednesday.
The campers toured Cheek to Cheek Hospital for Animals in Brunswick on Wednesday, and then they had the chance to try their hands at dissecting sheep brains and hearts back at the Career Academy. Throughout the week-long camp, students learn about animal anatomy and medical terminology, as well as safety and sanitary practices when handling animals.
“They’re always amazed at how small the brain is in sheep. It’s little,” Stalvey noted, as the campers dissected the sheep organs in the ag science lab at the Career Academy. “But they all want to learn more about animals and working with them. It’s a good way for them to get a little taste of the different components that go along with it.”
The camp also includes many of the typical team-building activities and competitions that keep the students sharp and engaged.
“On Friday, we’re going to give out certificates to the group, and one group will be ‘team of the week,’” Stalvey said. “We have divided them into three teams, and then we’re gong to give out ‘most artistic,’ ‘most competitive,’ and just some general camp awards to help them remember what they did.”
Many of the students who sign up for the camp have an interest in pursuing a career in veterinary science, Stalvey said.
“At Cheek to Cheek, I think some of them were surprised. We went in and a dental cleaning was going on,” she said. “They got to see them take x-rays, just like the dentist takes x-rays for us when we go in.”
The camp also exposes the younger students to the Career Academy and classes they can sign up for in high school. The camp raises money for the school’s Future Farmers of America program.
“It’s a fundraiser for our FFA, so that we can do service projects and events with our students during the year,” Stalvey said.
A highlight of every day of camp, though, is when the campers get to spend time holding the rabbits, snakes and dogs in the ag lab.
“Their favorite thing is just to sit by the rabbits,” Stalvey said. “They just want to sit and hold the animals.”