Program of California State Parks and the California State Parks Foundation that began in 1994. It is the largest statewide program that introduces camping to underserved areas of our communities.
The goals are:
To introduce camping to community groups who would otherwise not have the opportunity to have an overnight outdoor recreation experience
To strengthen human relations by teaching a new form of recreation
To promote a safe, affordable recreation activity that involves all members of the community
To encourage the use of State Parks by community based organizations and to help them meet their goals for the community
The FamCamp® program provides a trailer full of camping equipment and a campsite reserved at a State Park. The campground is usually located relatively close to an urban area and is available during the prime camping season. Ten of these FamCamp® trailers are located throughout California and each one accommodates up to 30 campers.
The trailer contains tents, sleeping bags, pads, stoves, lanterns, propane, and other essential items for camping. Participating groups need only bring food, personal gear, and a willingness to try out something different. The groups are responsible for the care of the equipment, proper storage after use, and washing the sleeping bag liners. If they wish, users can make a donation to the California State Parks Foundation to help with equipment maintenance and replacement.
Why FamCamp ®
Recreation is the strongest contributing factor for creating strong and supportive families which in turn nurture children and youth. Leisure opportunities that allow for togetherness and sharing promote close, healthy family relationships. Strong family bonds are essential to mental and social health. Families and groups who recreate together tend to be closer, more cohesive and improve their chances of staying together.
Surveys of over 900 FamCamp ® participants conducted by Pacific Leadership Institute indicate that one third of them were first time campers and another third had only camped once or twice before. More than 80% responded positively when asked whether they had fun, liked camping overnight, would like to participate in another FamCamp® event, and whether camping was a positive experience for their family.
Studies show that camping improves children's self-esteem, decision-making skills, sense of responsibility and ability to manage interpersonal relationships with both peers and adults. These benefits are long-lasting and seem to occur regardless of the age, sex or race of the child, or the nature or length of the camp. "It can actually change people's lives," said Kay Paumier, spokesman for the Northern California Section of the American Camping Association. "All the studies indicate it can make a big difference. It's one of the few times you can go someplace and have a good time and have it be good for you!" (The Press Democrat, 1999).
Who Qualifies and How to Get Started
FamCamp ® is designed to introduce non-traditional users to California State Parks and to the benefits of high quality outdoor recreational experiences. In order to qualify as a participant in the FamCamp program an organization must meet the following criteria:
1. The organization must be a non-profit.
2. A representative from the organization, who will be present during the entire FamCamp outing, must be currently certified for FamCamp ®. In other words, the representative/s must have attended the Outdoor Recreation Leadership training within the past two years of the requested reservation. FamCamp users must recertify every two years. This fee based interactive hands-on training equips adults with the skills and confidence to lead outdoor recreation activities and camping. Participants become proficient in setting-up, using, and packing-up all of the camping equipment in the FamCamp ® trailer.
3. The maximum reservation for a FamCamp outing is 3 days and 2 nights.