Roanoke Valley SPCA veterinary camp gives kids hands-on look at vet science

ROANOKE (WSLS 10) -- Dozens of Roanoke area students are spending a week at summer camp, learning all aspects of veterinary science.

For many of them, like 9-year-old Addison Crown, they're learning more about the career they want to have one day.

"We got to go to Virginia Tech and do all this cool vet stuff and learn about vets because I want to be a vet when I grow up," said the rising fourth grader.

After just three days at the Roanoke Valley SPCA's pre-veterinary science camp, Crown says she wants to work with animals even more.

"We learned about cows and then yesterday we learned about horses and then one day we learned about dog obedience," she said.

And that's the idea. Now in its third year, the SPCA camp introduces children a mobile vet clinic on Thursday and other aspects of veterinary science another.

"It's not only a week of camp about being a vet, it's also a week of camp about learning the different animal care fields that are out there," said Roanoke Valley SPCA director of community engagement Sylvie Peterson.

Peterson calls it STEM learning to give rising fourth through sixth graders an early introduction to the field. Rising seventh through tenth graders get an even more in-depth look into the field.

"We do everything from taking them to agility fields so they can learn about positive reinforcement training. They do some work in the clinics with our vet so they learn how to do the scrubs and the cleansing. They see a lot of surgeries," Peterson said.

And the experience sticks with the students.

"We saw a cow giving birth. It was cool but it was a little gross," Crown said with a smile.