Veterinarians in the making: NDSU's Pre-Vet club offers "I Wanna Be A Vet" camp

North Dakota State University's Pre-Vet Club hosted a camp for children interested in becoming a veterinarian.

Children attend I Wanna Be a Vet Camp.JPG
Campers learned a variety of skills needed to be a veterinarian, but still made sure to pet their patients. Photo taken March 26, 2022, in Fargo, North Dakota.
Emily Beal / Agweek
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FARGO, N.D. — When asking a classroom full of young children what they wish to be when they grow up, there are often a slew of common answers: an astronaut, a movie star, or some sort of professional athlete perhaps. However, another response often arises: a veterinarian. North Dakota State University’s Pre-Vet Club on Saturday, March 26, held its first “I Wanna Be A Vet Kids Camp,” for children who take an interest in animal health and dream of being a vet someday.

“Every kid is like, ‘I wanna be a vet when I'm older,’ but I think it’s important for them to learn what all goes into it, So they know it’s not all petting and seeing animals all day,” Mikayla Hjelden, president of NDSU’s Pre-Vet club, said.

The camp was geared for children ages 7-12, with a little leniency for older as well as younger children to attend. Throughout the camp, the attendees learned about a broad range of topics, including giving injections, medicating animals, taking x-rays and many other important aspects of being a vet.

One camper in particular, Faith, was excited to learn how to properly wrap an animal's injured leg and apply it in the future if need be.

Faith, 10, learns how to wrap an injured leg during the camp. Photo taken March 26, 2022, in Fargo, North Dakota.
Emily Beal / Agweek

“That way when I am older I won’t have to relearn it all over again,” she said.


Part of Faith’s birthday present was being able to go to NDSU’s camp. She has had a deep passion and connection with animals for as long as she can remember.

“My daughter loves animals,” Becky Schwab, Faith’s mother, said. “She wants to grow up and be a vet. So, this seemed like the perfect start to have her do what she loves and see if she wants to still move that direction.”

Like many campers, Faith does not come from a farm or have constant access to livestock. Due to this, the Pre-Vet Club wanted to focus on offering a variety of livestock for the campers to learn about, such as dairy calves, sheep and lambs, as well as horses. Hjelden also did not have the opportunity to grow up around livestock and believes it’s important to give all campers a chance to interact and learn with animals you would find on a farming operation.

Pre-Vet president
Mikayla Hjelden is the president of NDSU's Pre-Vet Club and was in charge of planning the camp. Photo taken March 26, 2022 in Fargo, North Daktoa.
Emily Beal / Agweek

“The large animal is definitely important. I know right now the large animal vet is kind of struggling in that industry. So they are definitely looking for a lot more animal vets out there,” Hjelden said. “I think for these kids to expose them early, just to kind of get them out and learn this side of the career is important as well.”

Campers look at a ewe
Campers look on at a ewe and her lambs. For many campers, this was their first time being able to work with livestock. Photo taken March 26, 2022, in Fargo, North Dakota
Emily Beal / Agweek

This was the camp’s first year and more than 60 children attended. The camp was split into a morning and afternoon session, with about 30 kids in each. The NDSU Pre-Vet Club felt it was important to offer a learning experience for children in the community and the campers parents wholeheartedly agreed.

“It gives kids an insight to what they want to be when they grow up. It broadens the horizons of what they want to learn,” Schwab said. “It really inspires the kids to learn more and achieve more and I just think it’s a great program.”

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