Hannah Lunn and Becca McDonald get silly with a selfie.

COLUMN: Parting with the puppies

Now, the Summer Reading Club is over, doggone it. I asked Hannah and Becca how they got to be so darned cute.

Imagine the best puppy in the world follows you home. Okay; now imagine two. Hey, Mom — can we keep them?

That’s how we all felt at the Library when Hannah and Becca arrived, tails a-wagging, to run the Summer Reading Club (SRC). That playful puppy energy was infectious.

Now, the Summer Reading Club is over, doggone it. I asked Hannah and Becca how they got to be so darned cute.

“Lots of theatre,” says Becca, who is currently in theatre studies at University of Lethbridge. “I’ve learned about being silly, and finding yourself.”

Hannah attended Arts Trek youth theatre camp in Red Deer through school, and later taught there.

“It gave me the feel of working with kids: the sillier you are, the more you connect. You’re not the big, scary grown-up,” she told me.

The two clearly embrace silly, with all kinds of goofy hijinks from Gross Science to Harry Potter Day. And even better, this year’s SRC theme was “funny business.”

What could be more ideal?

The two loved every day of it.

“It was waking up and thinking: what do we get to do today?” said Hannah.

“It was waking up and thinking: today we get to play with LEGO!” Becca agreed.

The highlight? When the puppies met their new humans, of course.

“The first day, when we made bracelets sticks out,” said Becca. “We met the kids who would be coming back again and again. And they were so welcoming to us.” Throughout, they say, kids and parents alike were supportive.

Other highlights included the Theatre Club movie premiere, which for Hannah and Becca was all about watching the kids watching themselves on screen, stars in their own movie; Skateboarding Day, when by the end, non-skateboarders were tearing up the ramps; and the Kids’ Rave (AKA Year-end Party), with disco lights, fog machine, and a YouTube playlist of fun and funky tunes.

More than 100 kids aged three to 12 signed up this year.

“Our hearts went into it, because we were just so happy to be here,” said Becca.

And it showed. Every year kids pack the library for Summer Reading Club, but things felt somehow — sillier this year, in a perfectly puppyish sort of way.

That there was so much goodwill all around helped, for sure. In the kennel with them were the SPCA, Touchstones, Nelson and District Youth Centre, Kootenay Co-op Radio, Save-on Foods, Shanti Yoga, madcap musician Mr. Mojo, Mary Marinangeli (who offered painting), Cooper McGinnis (theatre club), and Laurie Mannings (sewing).

Becca and Hannah couldn’t go without a parting shot of silliness.

Check it out yourself at www.facebook.com/NelsonSummerReadingClub, where you’ll see them with their black umbrellas and silly-sad goodbyes. Besides thanking the folks above, they also make sure to thank kids and parents, Nelson for being so beautiful, the janitor for putting up with their mess, and the librarians for putting up with all of their crazy antics (it wasn’t hard).

Hannah and Becca are clearly sad to go. And Fiona, a little girl in the video in the red polka dot dress, is sad, too — but happy for the great summer behind her. It’s not an SRC summer anyone’s going to forget anytime soon. According to Dr. Seuss, “You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.” Add to that the gazillion wacky and wild things that made up this year’s Summer Reading Club, and maybe: “you can’t ever be too silly, or too puppyish.”

They followed us home, but no matter how much we beg, we don’t get to keep them. As for the memories—those are ours to keep forever.

— Anne DeGrace is the Adult Services Coordinator at the Nelson Public Library. Check This Out runs every other week. For more information go to www.nelsonlibrary.ca.

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