Bexley News

Family Community Campout

Park becomes camp site for a night

Program gives families a way to enjoy camp experience with no travel hassle

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CHRIS BOURNEA/THISWEEKNEWS
Families set up their tents and prepare to enjoy some of the activities at the Bexley Family Community Campout Friday, Sept. 6.
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Savoring the last days of summer, dozens of families converged on Jeffrey Park Sept. 6 for the second annual Bexley Family Community Campout.

The event converted the park into a campground -- overnight, at least -- and provided games, food and an outdoor movie for participants.

Bexley Recreation Director Michael Price said the turnout met the city's projections.

"We have over 50 families in attendance," he said the evening of the event. "We sold out."

Powell Avenue resident Marikate Leavens said the campout offered a convenient "getaway" for those who may not want to travel far from home for a family camping trip.

"The kids have a ball, the daddies get to camp, mommies generally go home," she said, "although some stay."

The campout provided a bonding experience for Leavens' 6-year-old son and two other boys his age.

"They've all been friends since they were 2-and-a-half, so we've got a group of boys that have been close friends ever since," said Greg Krabacher, a South Merkle Road resident and father of one of the boys. "We do all this kind of stuff together."

To ensure the campout's success, Price said local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts assisted the city's recreation and parks employees in organizing and staffing the event. The scouts helped campers set up their tents, prepared s'mores and started campfires.

The campout also included inflatable rides, card games and other recreational activities. At dusk, the movie Epic was shown on a large outdoor screen.

"The kids think it's fun to watch it outside," Leavens said of the movie.

Though the temperature dropped considerably after sunset, she said the chilly night air offered ideal camping weather "because the sleeping bags are hot."

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