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Faith In Action: Short-term - Protecting Seals, Advocacy
Activity time: 15 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Card stock or other paper for the children to make cards
- Envelopes sized appropriately for cards or letters
- Crayons, markers, pens and pencils
- Contact information for Canadian officials
- Newsprint, markers, and tape
- Optional: Magazines with pictures of seals
- Optional: Computer with internet access
Preparation for Activity
- Explore the links in Leader Resources (Protecting Seals) in the Resources section for current information about the effort to end seal-hunting in Canada and actions the children can take.
- Decide what form this short-term project will take. You might have the children write letters or make cards expressing their feelings about seal hunting and why it should be stopped. These could be sent to officials in the Canadian government or of countries that are considering outlawing seal products. They could make "thank you" cards to U.S. or Canadian officials or advocates who are working to end seal hunting in Canada, or to officials of countries that have outlawed trade in products made from seals. The children could write letters or make cards from the seals, expressing their feelings in first person.
- Find out the names and addresses of Canadian government officials children can write to. Write their names and addresses on newsprint and post it, so the children can copy them onto letters, cards, and/or envelopes. An alternative would be to determine which countries were currently trying to ban the sale of seal products and write letters to their officials. Children could also write "thank you" letters to officials of countries that have agreed to ban seal product sales.
- Place card-making/letter-writing materials and envelopes on work tables.
- Optional: Have pictures and simple information available about seal hunting. You may be able to download a video onto a laptop, or access the internet during the session. IMPORTANT: Pictures and videos related to seal protection can be gruesome, showing animals being clubbed to death, skinned, or left as bloodied or skinned carcasses. Preview everything you plan to show the group.
Description of Activity
This project engages the children in acting from the empathy that they have experienced for the seals and the Seal Hunter. They will be given the opportunity to help protect seals from seal hunting in Canada by making cards or writing letters. If you are looking for a project that can involve the larger congregational community, read Faith in Action: Protecting Seals - Long-term, which provides guidance for engaging the children in an awareness and/or fundraising campaign.
Gather the children around the tables where they will work. Remind them that as Unitarian Universalists we try to put our faith into action. Suggest that after learning about empathy and caring we want to use our new feelings to help make the world a better place. Suggest that if children want to help to protect seals that are still being hunted, they can write letters to people in Canada who have the power to make a law against seal hunting. Or, if you prefer, suggest the children write to thank officials or advocates who are working to end seal hunting and trade in products made from seals.
You may wish to tell the children that seal hunting still goes on and that the largest seal hunt happens each spring in Canada , just after new seals are born. Give them as much information as you think will be helpful but not overwhelming or unnecessarily upsetting. Tell the children that many organizations and individuals are working hard to convince the Canadian government to outlaw seal hunting and to convince other countries to stop buying products made of seal parts.
Including All Participants
At this age, children in a group may have a wide range of abilities in terms of writing. Offer children the option of illustrating a card and dictating the words they want to say to an adult or an older child. Children who do not wish to make or write a card can be invited to draw a scene from the story or one of the role play scenarios.