After Action Report on The Hunger Games at the Y

On August 19, the Williams YMCA of Avery County (North Carolina) held its Hunger Games Event to show the movie, provide fun and educational opportunities and activities, and raise resources and awareness for very real needs right here in our area, since there is no need to go outside our own District to find folks who need food and opportunities for better health. Join me after the jump for details on our activities and programs, more pictures, and inspiration for those hoping to do their own Hunger Games Night!

When I first encouraged my friend and super-awesome Spinning instructor DeLee Scott to read The Hunger Games trilogy, I knew he would love them (so much he read Catching Fire on his phone). I really enjoyed sharing with him, and the other enthusiastic YMCA readers, how the movie was being filmed. (In fact, he decided that our mostly over-40, wisecracking, fighting-gravity-and- time Spin class would make wonderful washed-up old Tributes for the Quarter Quell if Catching Fire is filmed nearby, too! Alas, no one has called us).

When the DVD release was announced, Delee, who is also the YMCA’s Director of Management and Marketing, and I put our heads together to create an event to show the movie on the big screen at the Y’s wonderful new Chapman Center for Families. The Center is a great location for weddings and other formal events, but also has recreational facilities that make it perfect for family events and movie nights, and boasts a glorious view of Grandfather Mountain. The Y had shown several family movies already, but we decided to do something really special for The Hunger Games.

The evening began with a number of activities connected to the novel’s themes and topics: face-painting, featuring Will Storms, a gifted local artist who did makeup on the film; an obstacle course; live traditional music by a fantastic group who included some of the songs used in the film; an excellent and informative native plants display by naturalist and college professor Julie Mullis, who also took visitors on a nature walk to spot edible, dangerous, and medicinal plants. We also had demonstrations by a trapper and an archer, along with hands-on archery practice for guests (Thank you Ken, Michelle, and Tera!). Our cakewalk featured music from the movie and prizes from the Mellark Bakery (cleverly disguised as the bakery department at Ingles Grocery), and we had Hunger Games Jeopardy! courtesy of Mayland Community College. Black Bear Books in Boone brought wonderful prizes and Effie Trinket (store owner Karen Hall, who actually dyed her hair pink!) to draw numbers for the cakewalk. We were also assisted by two of my Mayland students, Tyler and Tessa, who worked as extras in the film. Another MCC student, Destiny, dressed up scary Career Tribute style to serve as our ticket taker. Anyone who didn’t want Greasy Sae fare could get a yummy plate from local restaurant Carolina’s BBQ.

Since the Y has a license to show films, surround sound, and a huge screen, watching the movie was impressive, like a theater, only better. Just before we began, I set the scene with my talk on the Games as Appalachian novel, made even more appropriate by the stunning vista of Grandfather Mountain behind me.

Though the film and events were exciting, it wasn’t all just fun and Games. To help raise funds for the YMCA Strong Kids Campaign, the admission was $5. This program helps folks afford the Y, because, honestly, you shouldn’t have to go in the reaping to train like a Tribute, right? But we knocked $2 off that ticket (which included the movie and all the activities) for folks who brought a canned food item for our local pantry. Much to our delight, we collected hundreds of dollars and a large tub of food! So, in addition to enjoying fun activities, learning more about the book and the region, and seeing the movie on the big screen, our huge crowd of guests got to help do some good for real people suffering from hunger.

A special thank you goes to all our volunteers ( I am so sorry if I missed anyone!) and to the terrific folks of the Williams YMCA who really are amazing. If you are interested in setting up something similar, or if you are in our area and want to know more about the Y or Mayland Community College, let me know!

Enjoy the pictures (thanks, Tessa and Delee!) and this video of an interview Delee and I did to promote the event!


  1. And posts like yours, Elizabeth, are why I recommend this website to any and every person who expresses interest in HP & HG! Fantastic!!!

    I can easily imagine incorporating your ideas into a school fundraiser, utilizing the different disciplines and groups available on most campuses!!! I’ll have to pass this along to our local Superintendent and Administration! Thanks!

  2. David James says

    Elizabeth, thank you for a great read on the HG event at the Williams YMCA of Avery County (North Carolina) and the photos. Looks like a beautiful area to host such an event, so much like scenes from District 12 I’ll bet. What a special idea to help the Y’s Kids Campaign and the food donation for the needy in your area. I have seen other HG gatherings sharing the same giving ideas and I’m certain Suzanne Collins would be pleased to see the inspiration her books have given to her readers to reach out to those in need.

    My wife and I are heading up to the Ashville, NC area in October, so I am planning to look up some of the beautiful HG filming sites around that area and getting some inspiration of my own for a future HG/HP talk

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