During the pandemic and lockdown, just getting out of the house became even more special. As things have opened up, people are faced with a challenge of what to do.
Luckily, John Kawada, the teen center’s recreation coordinator, found a solution.
“I wanted to offer families the opportunity to go camping without having to travel too far from home,” Kawada said.
The answer was the Reed & Grant Sports Park in Santa Clara. Kawada felt that offering residents the opportunity to camp in a controlled environment on August 5 could be a fun experience.
Originally slated for Central Park, the site was moved to Sports Park due to the area being fenced off and the bathrooms being private – things many campers were pleased to see.
Camping in the City included games and activities such as ax throwing (using a plastic axe), ladder ball, bean bag toss, and a self-guided scavenger hunt using objects placed through parts of the site. Campers were treated to Domino’s pizza for dinner and enjoyed a screening of Disney’s Up with locally made popcorn after the sun went down.
On Saturday morning there was a pancake breakfast from Denny’s in Santa Clara.
Most families who have camped in the field have gone camping before, but now with young children, they face the challenge of extra preparation and making sure they bring everything their children need. One of the benefits of family camping in the city was that it was an opportunity to introduce their young children to the idea of camping.
Pritesh and Karishma brought their 22-month-old daughter Prisha with them. To make Friday night extra special, they donned matching pajamas.
“We’ve camped before and want to introduce Prisha to camping and that was nice,” said Pritesh. “We also found several families that we met at the concerts in the park.”
Stephanie went camping with her mother, Maria, and her 5-year-old daughter, Sophia.
“It was great,” said Sophia. “The tent was so cozy.”
Sophia, like many of the other young campers, said her favorite part was, “Everything!”
Gavino and Octavio, 7, also camped at the park. When asked if he wanted to camp longer, Octavio replied with a definite “yes,” saying, “He’s wanted to camp forever!”
Gavino explained that his wife and two other children were still asleep.
“It’s our family’s first time camping,” Gavino said. “We borrowed camping gear from a neighbor but are now considering getting our own.”
Karen and Jon live in San Francisco, but Karen’s mother and brother live in Santa Clara. That’s how they found out about the event. They were camping with their two daughters, Roxie, 22 months, and Zadie, 4.
“We’ve camped before. We went camping with our kids at a state park, but there was so much prep and setup work,” Karen said. “It was outdoors, but it was so much more practical.”
From the smiles and the very positive comments, the Parks and Recreation Department’s family camping in the city appeared to be a success. Families say they want the event to come back next year, and some families are hoping the Parks and Recreation Department could make it a monthly event or extend camping to two nights.