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View Full Version : A $200-$300 non-electronic prize that would appeal to 13-15 y.o. kids?



eric11210
07-04-2007, 04:09 AM
OK, this is going to be one of the stranger questions ever asked here, since it's about real life instead of research, but given you all could treat it as a research question for a story (not to mention it has to do with books :Shrug:), I thought I'd put this out here and see what kind of response I get.

I'm spending my summer working in a summer camp (if you all noticed I haven't posted much, well, any work lately, it's because I've been insanely busy here). I've worked here for a few summers and last time I was here, I created a Jewish library for the camp (It's a Jewish camp for unaffiliated Jewish kids, though we have a handful of non-Jewish kids as well).

I worked my butt off to create the place and unfortunately, the kids are not super excited about reading any books and the books I worked so hard to collect for them are largely gathering dust. I decided I wanted to run a contest for the kids where for every book they borrow and read (their counselors will have to sign that they read it) they get an entry form for the contest and the winner will get a $50 gift certificate to Amazon.com. The response was shall we say. . .underwhelming. None of the kids seem to care (I was shocked -- they all were like, yeah, big deal. . .).

So I figured, why not up the ante? Like I said, I killed myself to make this place happen and I want it used, so I'm willing to offer a few hundred dollars if that's what it takes to make the kids start reading the books (yeah, I know, I'm a bit crazy, but when my book becomes a best seller (I can dream, can't I? ;)) I won't be called a bit crazy. I'll be a bit eccentric :D).

Now here's my problem. I suggested to the director that I could offer a Nintendo Wii, but he doesn't want me to offer something electronic, where the kids will sit in front of a screen. He doesn't mind my offering a substantial prize and my personal budget is in the same range as that particular item, so any ideas of what a 13-15 y.o. boy or girl (we're co-ed) might be interested in that isn't electronic in the $200-$300 range (and I've considered offering a gift card in that amount, but frankly, that just feels too desperate. I want a prize that'll make the kids go "wow, that's so cool," not "OK, now it's worthwhile already.").

Treat it as a research question. If you have kids, ask them what they would think is cool (they'll probably be asking why they don't have staff in their camps who are crazy enough to offer something like this ;) -- unless of course, they're in my camp, in which case they do. :D).

Thanks for any and all ideas.

Eric

Mom'sWrite
07-04-2007, 04:22 AM
My kids go crazy for the electronic stuff but they also step up and perform for special privileges. Things like taking all their friends to paintball, or rock climbing center, or laser tag are a big hit. Maybe the winner of the contest could "rule the camp" for a day. Do things like decree that the camp counselors have to wear their underwear on the outside of their clothes or eat everyones vegetables. A little power/control is very enticing to the younger set. Good luck with it.

Selimthegrim
07-04-2007, 04:27 AM
They might be a little bit old, but I've found that bicycles are popular with kids of that age bracket. Mostly though, it's electronics. The kids I tutor won't get out of bed for anything less than an ipod or a cell phone, and they all hate books.

Slight personal rant: I was tutoring an 11 year old girl and I mentioned Mark Twain. And she asked me "Is he related to Shania Twain?"

katiemac
07-04-2007, 04:27 AM
Hmm. My first response, even though you said "non-electronic," would be an iPod. It doesn't have them sitting in front of a screen, unless you go for a video iPod, but Nanos, shuffles other versions are all in that price range.

My next thought is some kind of musical instrument, like a guitar. But that could appeal to a small group of kids, those who have in interest in learning in the first place. A karaoke machine, too, but I suppose that's also electronic.

My final suggestion would be an electric scooter of some kind, or a bicycle.

Plot Device
07-04-2007, 05:17 AM
A choice from an array of gifts:

Advertise as follows:

Your choice! You will win EITHER:

1) a bicycle
2) a guitar
3) a pair of new (fill-in-the-blank) athletic shoes

(The athletic shoes will be a HUGE draw depending upon which brand you advertise. Don't ask ME what the latest oh-so-cool brand is though.)

The_Grand_Duchess
07-04-2007, 05:57 AM
I thought the I-pod was a good idea. Go with that.

Monkey
07-04-2007, 06:26 AM
A smallish trampoline? I'm pretty sure I saw a few in that price range...

Maybe I dreamed it...Stupid Monkey.

Anyway, what else? Hmmmm....

A collection of smaller items, say, all the Pirates of the Carribean action figures or a ton of Shrek stuff?

You could buy several of the large, elaborate lego sets and build a really amazing scene, then allow them to win the scene.

There are some outdoor-use toy rockets and such that run in that range and do some pretty amazing things.

You could offer a "shopping spree" worth the prize amount.

Gad. I know what I would want. A long massage followed by a hot tub. And a lemonade. With an umbrella. Definitely an umbrella.
Forgive me. I'm a little stressed.

:D

eric11210
07-04-2007, 07:08 PM
Thanks guys. So far, the i-pod sounds like the best idea. Either that or a shopping spree where they get to leave camp and go spend money at a mall. . .I'll discuss it with my director and see what he says.

Thanks for the ideas guys.

Eric

alleycat
07-04-2007, 07:11 PM
The trouble is . . . doesn't every 13 to 15 year old already have an iPod, or the equivalent?

Jamesaritchie
07-04-2007, 08:51 PM
The trouble is . . . doesn't every 13 to 15 year old already have an iPod, or the equivalent?

Lord, no. There are still thousands and thousand who are too poor to own anything like an iPOD.

alleycat
07-04-2007, 09:51 PM
Lord, no. There are still thousands and thousand who are too poor to own anything like an iPOD.
Well, first you can buy a basic MP3 player pretty cheap these days. And second, he said they yawned when offered a $50 gift certificate; so I'd be willing to bet most of them have an MP3.

Just about ever kid I know has one. And a cell phone these days.

Of course, an actual iPod might still pique their interest. I'm not sure.

nancy02664
07-05-2007, 12:10 AM
I don't know what the camp's rules are about allowing kids to do off-site activities, but...

Concert tickets, perhaps?

Tickets to a sporting event?

A limo ride to some interesting place or show (e.g., amusement park, circus)?

BTW, congrats on getting a library going! I'm sorry it's not being appreciated properly. :Shrug:

frimble3
07-05-2007, 11:43 AM
I liked ScreenMom's idea. The privileges rather than a 'thing'. Because next year, they'll up the ante and not read for anything less than a car. What came to mind was one of the schools near me had a fund-raiser where if the students raised 'X' dollars the principal would shave his head. Perhaps the kid who read the most books could personally shave your head? (Suspecting that the director won't volunteer). Maybe you're just fighting an unwinnable battle, it's summer camp and they don't want to read or do anything else school-related. What kind of books did you get?

eric11210
07-06-2007, 03:33 AM
Well I've asked some kids (16 and 17 y.o. staff) for research purposes and the answers were, I-pod, yeah, that would pique my interest. Unfortunately, it wasn't Oh my God, that's so cool, but it wasn't nothing either at least. Don't forget that even if they have one already, it can be sold on e-bay for the equivalent money to buy a gaming system or they could give it to a sibling or whatever. . .I don't know (plus, I figure an i-pod would more likely appeal to girls than a Wii). I hope the i-pod works, because I'm fresh out of ideas.

The woman running my library says she hasn't gotten even one entry for the contest yet, so I guess the gift certificate thing wasn't working for them.

Regarding the other ideas, uhm, no thanks on some kid shaving my head (I wouldn't trust a teenager with a razer blade ;)).

Event tickets? I did try Yankees tickets a few years ago and they were of mild interest, and then only because I really pushed it constantly (I'm no longer in charge of the library -- I have a different job this summer, but it's still my baby and I want to see the kids using it). Unfortunately, I worry that event tickets will have limited appeal since different kids have different tastes in what they want to see. . .

Anyway, I thank you all for the ideas. . .the director did approve an i-pod at least, so I'm going with a 30GB 5th gen enhanced (they call it ipod 5.1. It's going to be around $235 so I think that's a significant amount to spend. . . :Shrug:).

Hope that finally piques some interest, otherwise it's a lost cause. . .:(

Thanks again everyone,

Eric

Oh and Frimble, all types of books, specifically Jewish related, novels, history, self help, you name it, I got it. Even Jewish comics and magazines. . .

alleycat
07-06-2007, 03:35 AM
An iPhone would interest them.

katiemac
07-06-2007, 03:51 AM
An iPhone would interest them.

Eh, no average kid could afford the contract plan.

alleycat
07-06-2007, 04:00 AM
Eh, no average kid could afford the contract plan.
That's what moms and dads are for!

;-)

katiemac
07-06-2007, 04:16 AM
I don't think the average mom and dad can afford it either! ;)

johnnysannie
07-06-2007, 07:37 PM
Well, first you can buy a basic MP3 player pretty cheap these days. And second, he said they yawned when offered a $50 gift certificate; so I'd be willing to bet most of them have an MP3.

Just about ever kid I know has one. And a cell phone these days.

Of course, an actual iPod might still pique their interest. I'm not sure.

I vote with James - thousands of kids don't have an MP3 player.

My kids do have cell phones -(my twins are 11) -but among their age group, they are in a distinct minority.

Finding the right prize to appeal to kids is a difficult question because kids are all different. My kids, for example, would jump at the chance to read the books in the first place.

alleycat
07-06-2007, 07:48 PM
Yeah, but apparently these aren't poor kids. I mean, if they yawn at $50, then they probably have enough for an MP3. But . . . whatever.

Here's another suggestion for the OP: Instead of having a contest for the number of books read, have a general contest to read ONE significant book (that is, not a picture book or one with 68 pages). Then host some kind of special party for all the kids who read a book, say, a weiner roast with ice cream some night or a "ghost story adventure". Or whatever, I'm not sure what kids would like these days. Just an idea; I have no idea whether they'd go for this or not.

threedogpeople
07-06-2007, 08:08 PM
I would suggest a rowing machine or other some other piece of athletic equipment (weight bench & weights ? )for the boys and a day at the beauty spa (with a friend) for the girls.

alleycat
07-06-2007, 08:09 PM
I would suggest a rowing machine or other some other piece of athletic equipment (weight bench & weights ? )for the boys and a day at the beauty spa (with a friend) for the girls.
Ooo, that's not a bad idea. I gave a high school graduate a day at the spa last year and she loved it.

JoNightshade
07-06-2007, 10:06 PM
Seriously, all I have to say after reading this thread is that I am now very afraid for the next generation. Scary...

III
07-06-2007, 10:14 PM
You can get a Fender Squire electric guitar / amp combo brand new for about that price. If you take it out of the case and set it up as a display and maybe even let them play it, it might help to pique their interest.