The Silicon Valley Voice

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Family Camping in the City

During the pandemic and lockdowns, just getting out of your home became even more special.  As things have opened, people are faced with the challenge of what to do.

Fortunately, John Kawada, Recreation Coordinator at the Teen Center came up with a solution.

“I wanted to offer families the opportunity to go camping but not have to go too far from home,” said Kawada.


The answer was the Reed & Grant Sports Park in Santa Clara. Kawada felt that offering residents the chance to go camping on Aug. 5 in a controlled environment could make for a fun experience.

Originally planned for Central Park, the location was changed to the Sports Park because the area is enclosed and the bathrooms are private – things several campers were glad to see.

Camping in the City included games and activities such as ax throwing (with a plastic ax), ladder ball, bean bag toss and an on-your-own scavenger hunt with items placed through parts of the facility. Campers were treated to Domino’s pizza for dinner and, after the sun set, enjoyed a screening of the Disney movie “Up” with popcorn made onsite.

Saturday morning featured a pancake breakfast from Denny’s in Santa Clara.

Most of the families that camped on the field have gone camping before, but now with young children, they’re faced with the challenge of additional preparation and making sure they bring everything their children need. One of the advantages of the family camping in the City event was it was a chance to introduce their young children to the idea of camping.

Pritesh and Karishma brought their 22-month-old daughter Prisha. To make the Friday night more special, they dressed in matching pajamas.

“We’ve been camping before and want to introduce Prisha to camping and this was nice,” said Pritesh. “We also found several families we’ve met at the concerts in the park.”

Stephanie went camping with her mother, Maria and her 5-year-old daughter, Sophia.

“It was great,” Sophia exclaimed. “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 out at the park. When asked if he wanted to camp some more, Octavio answered with a definitive “Yes,” saying that “he wanted to camp forever!”

Gavino explained that his wife and two more children were still asleep.

“It’s our family’s first-time camping,” said Gavino. “We borrowed camping gear from a neighbor, but now we’re 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 camped with their two daughters, Roxie, 22 months, and Zadie, 4.

“We’ve been camping before. We’ve gone tent camping with our kids at a state park, but there was so much prep work and setup,” said Karen. “This was outdoors, but it was so much more convenient.”

Based on the smiles and 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 hope the Parks and Recreation Department could make it a monthly event or extend camping over two nights.


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