Young children may scurry around a library with a look of fascination in their eyes during a scavenger hunt - though when their grandparents do the same, it may raise an eyebrow or two.
But Sunny Gunther, assistant director of Ateaze Senior Center in Dundalk, says she's happy to see that kind of noisy interaction between the generations.
"I felt bad chasing children out of "off-limit' rooms at the senior center." said Gunther, who helped organize a cooperative program with the North Point branch of the Baltimore County Public Library. "So, I made up in my mind that this summer wasn't going to be like last summer."
The program sponsored by the senior center, Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks and the library, includes library visits and reading activities involving children and their grandparents.
"This was my favorite part of camp because I like to read a lot," said Kelly Bryan, 8.
The program was the brainchild of Gunther. She realized that with children out of school and many parents working, grandparents often were taking care of the Children.
Gunther contacted Neil Magness, program coordinator for the recreation department's eastern region and Karen Benson, community outreach coordinator for the library. They worked together to set up the program which takes place each Wednesday through the end of this month.
The program featured as a highlight joint visits to the library by children and grandparents, the lasf of which took place Wednesday. "Grandparents are familiar with the library, and sometimes grandparents need things for kids to do," said Benson.
The first visit, June 28, was an orientation to the library and an introduction to the Summer reading club. Later visits included story reading for the children and a scavenger hunt to sections of the library for children and grandparents.
"This program is good because the kids don't just see Grandma and Grandpa as old people," said Gunther. The kids now see them doing really cool stuff."
Grandparents had the option of bringing their grandchilden to the library for the program and picking them up afterward, but the majority stayed for the library events.
Helen Card, 79, of Dundalk said she enjoyed watching her grandsons Adam, 9, Andrew, 7, and Alex, 5, in the library. "They seem to like it very much, especially playing on the computers," she said.
And for the remainder of the summer, the children with the help of their grandparents, will take part in "Reading Rhythms," the County library system's summer reading encouragement program, which includes a variety of games, activities and prizes.
The Ateaze center's activities have drawn rave reviews from the seniors.
"I've enjoyed this. I hadn't been to the library in four or five years." said Dot Rego, 69, of Dundalk. I was amazed at all of the different things they have at the library now."
It also was a welcome break for Lorretta McGrath and her two granddaughters, Casey Amoss, 8, and Randi Amoss, 6, of Dundalk. "This was really nice, it's a good diversion for each week," she said.
Perhaps the best reward for Ann Krauss of Dundalk was the excitement her grandsons had about reading.
"I thought that it was great." he said "The kids really enjoyed being in the library. I had no problems waking them up on Wednesday mornings."