Library Summer Survivor Challenge offers fun way to beat the heat

Library assistant Whitney Jones (third from left) of Wyandotte prepares participants for a sprinkler tug-of-war contest July 17 during Riverview Library’s Summer Survivor Challenge, a summer reading program event for youth age 10 to 18 years old. Ready to compete are Mariah Crawford (left), 12, of Livonia; Riverview residents Colin Whitaker, 13, and Alaina Whitaker, 12; Jarrett Butler, 12, of Brownstown Township; Riverview residents Russell Andres, 15, and Kylynn Lanar, 12; Woodhaven residents Isa Ahmad, 11, and Mohammad Ahmad, 13; and Robbie Oaks, 12, of Brownstown.

Sunday Times Newspapers

RIVERVIEW – Whether playing water sprinkler tug-of-war or savoring watermelon to select seeds for a spitting contest, reading program participants had fun July 17 during Riverview Library’s Summer Survivor Challenge event.

For Madalyn Lake, 11, of Riverview, cooling off in the sprinkler made the outdoor tug-of-war her favorite relay event.

Team anchor Robbie Oaks, 12, of Brownstown Township, admitted to also getting wet on purpose to cool off during the tug-a-war. His said his best friend, Jarrett Butler, 12, of Brownstown, encouraged him to attend with him.

“It’s pretty fun,” Oaks said, and added he will also encourage other friends to attend upcoming teen summer reading events.

A Mystery Night from 6 to 8 p.m. July 31 will present participants with a fictional crime, suspects and crime scenes, challenging them to use their investigative skills to determine a culprit and motive.

The summer programs for ages 10 to 18 are free, although residents are encouraged to sign up a week in advance by calling the library at 734-283-1250 or signing up in person at the Riverview Public Library, 14300 Sibley Road.

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For repeat summer program participant Isa Ahmad, 11, of Woodhaven, cooling off in the sprinkler was only part of the reason the competition was one of his favorite activities. He found it amusing that the teams pulled so hard they broke the rope.

“During tug-of-war you can get really wet and it can cool you down on a really hot day,” Ahmad said.

He said he enjoyed an earlier event on June 26 that taught them to make and decorate a book tote bag out of a retired T-shirt he took to the library for that purpose.

His brother Mohammed Ahmad, 13, has had fun as well.

“It’s way more than just reading,” he said.

Nada Sedrati, 10, of Southgate, said her favorite relay race was the indoor sponge relay, where team members had to fill a cup at the end of the course with water by squeezing a dripping sponge into it.

“We could actually get wet, but indoors,” Sedrati said, adding that her team took second place on that challenge.

Another indoor contest, a gumdrop-toothpick tower competition was the favorite activity of Mariah Crawford, 12, of Livonia.

“We got to eat it, and it was interesting because to put it together it was creative,” Crawford said. “It was a good idea.”

Teen library program assistant Debbie Helton, who ran the competitions, said she learned she should buy stronger rope for the tug-of-war after discovering her bargain brand didn’t hold up to the teen tugging.

“I always have fun with these guys,” Helton said.

She said she came up with some of the relay race ideas, and some of the teen regulars added ideas during the planning phase.

Helton said teen programs at the library run year-round, not just in the summer.

Whitney Jones, a library assistant who also works with the teen programs, said the annual summer murder mystery programs are quite popular with teens, as are their fall Halloween parties.

“Usually the murder mystery program that we do every summer is really fun, and the kids have a good time with that,” Jones said. “The murder mysteries are really fun to set up, and then to see the kids go through it – they get very excited about it.”

She encourages parents to take their teens to the summer library program, adding that they do not have to be from Riverview, but they do need to pre-register by phone or in person a week ahead.

“It’s just a really good opportunity for the kids to interact together, meet new people, just have fun during the summer,” Jones said. “It’s something that’s structured, and of course it’s great to have kids in the library.”