Westside Family Urban Campout
In a unique partnership with CampFire USA, KCMO Parks and Recreation, the Westside CAN Center introduced camping to our urban neighborhood. Over 40 families experienced camping for the first time, in Observation Park at two overnight camp outs in June 2005 and October 2005 and again in September 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. Tents were pitched, sleeping bags unrolled as campers experienced delicacies such as S’mores, roasted marshmallows, hot dogs on a stick and stories around a campfire by popular Kansas City storyteller, Brother John.
The 2013 Family Urban Camp out is scheduled for Saturday, September 28th and, once again will be held in Observation Park. A large number of our families, many of whom are single mothers, cannot afford a vacation. Many do not have transportation and camping can be an expensive venture. Our urban camping program brings the essence of the camping experience to their own back yard, most neighbors can walk to the park. It is a memory-making and shared experience that strengthens family and community bonds.
In 2005 an anonymous gift of 300 sleeping bags were distributed to the campers giving them a take-home memento, the event after that the kids received beach chairs to sit around the camp fire. In 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 we provided each camper with a flashlight as a remembrance of their adventure.