This is our second school year running American Girl Club at the public library, which we alternate monthly with Adventure Club. We started American Girl Club in October with Saige, 2013's Girl of the Year. At the last meeting before summer, we had asked our participants which girls they wanted us to do the following year and we took that into account as we planned out our girls. Saige was the overwhelming number one choice for our attendees, so we went with it.
After reading the Saige stories, my colleague and I decided to focus on a very fun aspect that we knew would appeal to lots of girls: clicker training with dogs. This meant very little work on our part, as we contacted a local dog training organization and they prepared a presentation for the girls. It ended up taking the whole hour we had scheduled because they girls loved watching the dogs perform tricks and had lots of questions for their trainers. We did have materials on hand to make friendship bracelets for a craft but, as I said, we ran out of time. As usual, I served the girls a traditional snack that represents the doll we focused on. In this case, I made biscochitos, the state cookie of New Mexico. They were very popular.
Overall, this was a very successful American Girl club meeting. The girls stayed interested in the dogs and their training for the entire hour, asking relevant questions and loving the tricks performed by the dogs. Many got their pictures taken with the dogs at the end of the hour and the trainers helped girls who wanted to perform some tricks with the dogs. The only issue we ran into here was that we had not advertised we would have dogs at the program and one mother complained (her daughter did not stay for the program). We did not advertise it because we were not sure until about a week before the program that we would for sure have the dogs and trainers there. Additionally, we thought it would be a fun surprise. I am sad that we had one unhappy patron, but we had many happy ones as well.