Not far from civilization
River Bluff State Park, just ten miles west of Tallahassee, Florida, is an excellent location for families wishing to hold reunions in a natural setting. Relax and unwind in breezes off Lake Talquin. A picnic pavilion with a scenic view of the lake seats approximately 100. Under a separate roof are two barbecue “pits” made of brick and raised for convenience and ease of cooking. When the pavilion is reserved for your reunion, the site will be closed to other users for the day. A uniformed Park Ranger will be on hand to greet you, answer your questions and secure the site.
ReserveAmerica, a leading recreation reservation provider, produces an annual list of America’s top family campgrounds, developed in part by park rangers, regional park management and campers who write testimonials, rate campgrounds and provide feedback throughout the year.
Criteria requested by family campers include park amenities, stunning outdoor scenery and educational facilities. Also considered were the quality and availability of hot showers, laundry facilities, hiking trails, family beaches, radio-free zones, visitor centers, educational programs, children’s events and location. Visit www.ReserveAmerica.com and www.ReserveUSA.com.
The ReserveAmerica Trail Finder™ is a partnership with Trails.com that has access to the most up-to-date and complete information for more than 35,000 guidebook trails throughout North America. There are also unlimited topographic maps, trailhead weather, trail reviews and a personalized My Trails home page.
Row to reunion fun with OARS
Outdoor Adventure River Specialists (OARS) has hosted several large family reunions. One of their most successful reunions took place in Grand Teton National Park with a family totaling 40 members. Sleeping arrangements were based at a lodge and various daily river trips were offered in conjunction with other options. All ages and skill levels were encompassed into several days of river rafting and outdoor adventure.
Another reunion adventure stretched six days down the Salmon River in Idaho. The river presents some moderate rapids with placid pools for swimming. The Salmon River presents the option of camping or sleeping at a lodge as well as many other outdoor activities and river sports.
River vacations prove to be rewarding for families in many ways. Outdoor recreation enables families to concentrate on their time together and their surrounding environment without the distractions of our modern technological world. Kids love the fun challenge of rafting, hiking and camping and adults can relax and enjoy themselves, knowing the kids are gaining as much from the experience as they are. As a result, their vacation is more fulfilling.
OARS carefully selects family friendly guides based on their ability to work well with children. On each trip, the company designates a Fun Director, a guide who ensures that kids will never experience a dull moment and that adults can have some time to themselves. OARS guides do all the cooking and most of the cleaning and setting up necessary in camp. Members can rest assured that they’ll have no responsibilities and can fully concentrate on spending time with the family.
OARS offers great discounts on trips (two adults pay full fare, all additional family members; cousins, grandparents, in-laws, receive 15% off the full rate). For more information or a free color catalog, call OARS at 800-346-6277; [email protected]; www.oars.com.
Some 50 alumnae of Camp Bryn Afon northeast of Rhinelander, Wisconsin, let the years roll back and returned to the site of happy camping days on Lake Snowden. The reunion brought campers from as far as England, and was organized by Leslie O’Connor who got the idea while surfing the web.
Most alums were at camp from 1964 to 1970. One camper said, “If I had to relive any point in my life, it would be my summers here.”
Camp Bryn Afon was built in 1918 as a girls’ camp that offered archery, horseback riding, riflery, sailing, waterskiing, tennis, arts and crafts, and nature study. Most campers stayed two months in summer. It is now Camp Horseshoe, a boys’ sports camp.
From a story by Daryl Youngstrum in the Rhinelander Daily News, Rhinelander, Wisconsin.
Cradle Beach Campers Reunion
At seven, Richard Cannon started attending Cradle Beach Summer Camp, founded in 1888 to prevent childhood deaths from scarlet fever and dysentery. Now 57, Cannon, who uses a wheelchair, hasn’t missed a reunion in more than four decades. He was one of more than 50 who returned to the Angola, New York, camp on the Lake Erie shore. They chatted, sang camp songs and reminisced. They honored recently deceased alumni and updated each other on jobs and families. Some recalled the sound of rain as it hit roofs of the rustic cabins, or bats in the old barn.
Now Cradle Beach expects about 850 campers, ages 9 to 16. It is financed through donations and is raising funds for a wheelchair-accessible treehouse. Visit www.cradlebeach.org.
From a story by Jaime Malarkey in the Buffalo News, Buffalo, New York.
Fond memories at Camp Shalom reunion
Camp Shalom, the Greater Hartford, Connecticut, Jewish Community Center’s (JCC) summer camp on the Farmington River in Windsor, Connecticut, held a reunion for campers and staff who attended between 1978 and 1988. Responses were characterized as fond, funny, warm and fuzzy, freely flowing memories.
One camper said there are times in one’s life when we make our closest friends and create our most powerful and profound memories. Camp is definitely one of those times. Camp Shalom fosters life-long friendships, creates rich and indelible memories.
From a story by Julie Jacobson in the Connecticut Jewish Ledger, West Hartford, Connecticut.