YA Programming Behind the Scenes: Digital Camera Scavenger Hunt

Our annual digital camera scavenger hunt is among the easiest of programs to run. It basically works like a promotional street team: the teens leave the library, work with people in the town to cross off items on the list (and, in the meantime, spread the word about the library program), and then the teens come back with the evidence on their phones and cameras.

613 Teen Scavenger Hunt

First, the rules:

1. Someone from the team must be in the photo. In group photos, everyone has to be in the photo.

2. All team members must be aged 12-19 (2-4 team members per team)

3. All team members must start at the library together (hunt begins at 2:05 pm) and arrive at the library by 3:45 pm with their camera. For every minute you are late, 5 items are disqualified

4. All items must be visible in a photo

5. All team members must act respectfully at all times—this includes asking permission for taking anyone’s photo

6. Once arriving at the library, a team member must describe each photo to a library staff member.

7. All photos must be on the same camera, but multiple items can be in one photo

This is the fourth year, and each year I make a list of items for the hunt. First I start with some basic scavenger list items that will get them to mix with people in the town (boy in a blue hat, birthday card specifically for a specific age), then add things then can find in the library (yearbook, book with a ghost on the cover, a recipe involving pasta), then include some group photos that for the teens to enjoy years from now (group photo of everyone crossing the street Abbey Road style), then creative thinking elements (something an inspector needs, group photo of everyone acting out a scene from a book, something wicked), then embarrassing challenges (lead a yoga class in a park), and finally some specific location items that are designed to lead the scavenger hunters astray because the distance will waste time that they could be doing something else (feet in sand, group photo of everyone hanging from monkey bars).

I number the list in Microsoft Word, then alphabetize the list so when we review the photos, we can quickly scan the list to match with the photo.

This event is fun, fast, and low maintenance. The winners receive small prizes (candy bars, water bottles) or fine forgiveness gift certificates (great way to entice teens to attend the programs). The best part is seeing the creative things the teens came up with and watch them excitedly compare their ideas with others.

Here is this year’s list:
1. a 1993 St. James High School yearbook
2. a bearded man
3. a bicycle repair book
4. a birthday card specifically for a 13-year-old
5. a book with a battle on the cover
6. a book with a couple kissing on the cover
7. a Bruno Mars CD
8. a dog house
9. a geranium
10. a hanging basket
11. a hologram
12. a lake dock
13. a library card in a strange place
14. a posted rule
15. a prom dress
16. a recipe involving asparagus
17. a restaurant’s recipe
18. a scary movie
19. a t-shirt with a band name on it
20. an anniversary balloon
21. an entrepreneur
22. an investor
23. at least 2 non-group members pretending they are dead
24. graffiti (group should not create this or tell anyone to create this)
25. group conducting an aerobics class in the park (bonus point if any non-group member joins you)
26. group photo: act on a scene from a book
27. group photo: act out a scene from a superhero movie
28. group photo: act out a scene from music video
29. group photo: everyone cartwheeling at the same time
30. group photo: everyone climbing a ladder
31. group photo: everyone hanging a spoon off their nose
32. group photo: everyone holding their horoscope sign
33. group photo: everyone under a bridge
34. group photo: everyone wearing a backpack
35. group photo: everyone wearing sweatbands
36. everyone with a zombie book lurking behind them
37. group photo: everyone’s face lit up with flashlights
38. group photo: group spelling out a word with their bodies
39. kids racing
40. non-group member drawing a picture of their favorite book character
41. non-group member flexing his/her muscles
42. non-group member giving a thumbs up
43. non-group member juggling
44. non-group member making a paper airplane
45. non-group member squirting a group member
46. non-group member teaching a dance move
47. non-group member wearing a crown
48. non-group member wearing weather-inappropriate clothing
49. non-group member with a chain wallet
50. non-group member with a copy of their favorite book
51. non-group member with a tattoo of a fictional character (tattoo must be visible)
52. non-group member with the name of their favorite song written on a piece of paper
53. nutritional value chart for a McDonald’s item
54. rocks arranged to spell Library
55. sidewalk chalk
56. sneakers with colored laces
57. someone eating dessert
58. someone getting water from a water fountain while giving a piggyback ride
59. someone inside the back of a truck
60. someone jumping off a swing mid-air
61. someone looking cool in sunglasses
62. someone on a scooter
63. someone over 6′ and someone under 5′
64. someone performing a skateboard trick
65. someone picking up trash
66. someone reflected in a mirror
67. someone who looks like a celebrity (picture must include name of celebrity)
68. something a golfer needs
69. something a lifeguard needs
70. something a poet needs
71. something a preppie needs
72. something a rock star needs
73. something a superstitious person need
74. something annoying
75. something dainty
76. something deflated
77. something Gatsby related
78. something heroic
79. something inflated
80. something sinister
81. something sort of fixed
82. something that belongs in a dragon’s lair
83. something that belongs in a lawyer’s office
84. something that belongs in a nightmare
85. something vegan (must say “vegan”)
86. something with a fish on it
87. something with a groundhog on it
88. something with a mermaid/merman on it
89. something with feathers
90. something with One Direction on it
91. something with Superman on it
92. something you’d find in the ‘hood
93. song lyrics
94. staged Kung Fu battle outside movie theater
95. suspenders
96. the group’s favorite beverage
97. the St. James Chamber of Commerce logo
98. the word “sabado”
99. the words “Watonwan”
100.two people performing a secret handshake

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