Friday June 7, 2013
The annual Great American Campout happens Saturday, June 22, 7:00 p.m. to Sunday, June 23, 11:00 a.m. at Jefferson Memorial Forest. The overnight family campout at Jefferson Memorial Forest supports Great Outdoors Month and also a national effort to raise awareness of the benefits of outdoor recreation, such as camping, as a way to connect people of all backgrounds with nature.
Families will enjoy a campfire, s’mores, night hikes and other activities. In the morning, there will be an opportunity to spend the day exploring the Forest or go fishing at Tom Wallace with free fishing poles provided at the Welcome Center.
This year, the event also ties into a national campaign, Expedition Denali: Inspiring Diversity in the Outdoors, which seeks to promote positive outdoor experiences among individuals and families of diverse ethnicities who traditionally may not have such opportunities.
Local partner Quest Outdoors, a camping and outdoor gear retailer, has donated 30 sleeping bags and nine 4-person tents for families identified through the Americana Community Center, a nonprofit organization which serves immigrant/refugee individuals and families. Quest is also accepting donations at both of its store locations to help underwrite the camping expenses for these families.
“When I heard about this event, I knew we had to be a part of it,” said Quest owner Ryan King. “The Expedition Denali focus is what we and the outdoor community have been dreaming of for years: getting more people from different backgrounds outside. Here we have families new to this area and, in many cases, new to this country and a beautiful park to share with them. Many probably would not have the opportunity to do this and I wanted to do anything we could to help.”
Americana’s program coordinator, Love Beverly, said the camping trip aligns with the goals of its Family Education Program, because it is one of the best ways to bond with your family. “This camping trip will combine family-building activities that will encourage more physical activities outside and help promote a healthier lifestyle. The beautiful scenery and solitude will help turn the family’s focus on one another instead of the distractions of their everyday lives.”
“Family camping, whether in a National Park or in a local urban forest such as Jefferson Memorial Forest, is a great experience on so many levels,” said Bennett Knox, parks administrator for the forest. “For this event, it is not only an opportunity to bond with your own family, but to also share the experience with others from across the broader community. We are excited to honor Expedition Denali through this event and especially thankful to Quest Outdoors for supporting the program.”
While basic campfire fare is provided, if they wish, campers may bring their own dinners to cook over an open fire. (Those campers wishing to cook their own dinners are asked to arrive by 5:30 p.m.) Campers will need to provide their own breakfast, tent, and a sleeping bag or blankets. (For families in need of a tent, there are a limited number that the Forest will have available for rent.) Alcoholic beverages are not allowed.
Fee for General Public: $25.00 per family up to 4; $5.00 per additional family member. $15.00 per platform tent rental. Pre-registration is required. For reservations, please call our Welcome Center at (502) 368-5404.
Donations to support families participating as part of the Expedition Denali campaign:
Donations can be made at both Quest Outdoors locations, Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sundays from Noon to 6 p.m.
Shelbyville Road Plaza, 4600 Shelbyville Road Plaza, 40207
The Summit shopping center, 4340 Summit Plaza Drive, 40241
Jefferson Memorial Forest:
The 6,400-acre Jefferson Memorial Forest, a woodland tribute to those Kentucky veterans who have served our nation during times of war, is Jefferson County’s largest nature preserve and one of the largest municipal urban forests in the nation. The Forest is the flagship of Metro Parks’ Natural Areas Division which is entrusted with providing stewardship, nature-based educational programming, and outdoor recreation within nearly 7,000 acres of forest, meadow, and riparian habitat across Louisville Metro. www.memorialforest.com.
To inspire youth of color—and particularly African American youth—to get outside, get active, and become stewards of our wild places, the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) will run an expedition with African American participants who will attempt to summit Denali, the highest peak in North America. NOLS will partner with organizations to mobilize youth of color nationwide to go on their “10,000 steps to Denali” on the day the team attempts to summit.
Americana Community Center: www.americanacc.org
Quest Outdoors: www.questoutdoors.com