Stansport is committed to what matters most. This year’s fourth annual campout took their promise to make camping fun and blew it out of the water, literally. Underprivileged families connected and expressed the purest form of joy on kayaks, canoes, stand up paddle boards, and a sailboat!
I had the pleasure of speaking with Robert Lafferty from Stansport who explained why the company goes all out every year from the intricate details and planned games to the financing required to throw such a massive event year after year.
“We as a company wanted to find a way to give back to our community and provide for sustainability for the camping world. Since we’re based in Los Angeles, we thought why don’t we take under privileged families camping? We can provide these kids a way to connect with their parents and nature and disconnect from their devices at the same time.”
~ Robert Lafferty
Stansport brought their A game to every minute of this campout. The day began with check in, or what I’d call a midyear Christmas for approximately 80 lucky people. Each member of the family was given a cool new Stansport shirt, sleeping mat, sleeping bag, lantern, and a backpack for each child filled with cool stuff like glow sticks and headlamps; plus the whole family gets a tent, of course. Did I mention they get to keep all of the brand new gear at the end of the event?
After unwrapping all of their new gifts, each family found the perfect spot to set up their new gear. This was the first of countless ways families connected. I witnesses many endearing parental moments where mom or dad helped a little one pound the tent stakes into the ground. This was just the beginning of many team building exercises over the weekend. Police cadets stood by to help any families who had questions.
After the camps were set up, we all enjoyed lunch, generously supplied by SOS Survival Products. Then everyone escaped to the water. Temperatures soared to 103 ºF! This may have deflated some events, but not so here. Families lined the shores of glassy Castaic Lagoon where California State University of Northridge Aquatics Manager, Chris Whiteside and his staff enthusiastically greeted us.
They taught us about water safety and how to operate a kayak, canoe, and standup paddle board, then it was a fun free for all! CSUN staff even offered rides on their sailboat where families were elated, their kids laid out, extending their fingers down to the water as the boat glided across the lagoon. No electronics could evoke the displays of joy I witnessed.
Then came the obstacle course. It was enormous! Stansport made it clear they go big or go home. It was a long relay involving a potato race, a blind fold trust obstacle field, crawl tunnels, a bean bag toss, and much more. While Stansport team members fried up countless burgers and hotdogs the kids enjoyed some free time climbing trees and checking out lady bugs, earwigs, and the variety of life around them.
The eyes on seven year old Maria Santos were enormous when she found a ladybug. Maria said she loves to be outside. When asked about her favorite part of the campout she quickly answered, “Swimming!” She said her favorite part about the outdoors was “All of the open space!” When she saw an earwig she cocked her head, eyes glued and asked “What is that? It looks like a tiny dinosaur!”
After dinner, families circled up around a huge bon fire and enjoyed s’mores. Things slowed down, and the families snuggled up together in their new tents. The next morning, Stansport provided breakfast along with a strong sense of connection and togetherness which made leaving even more difficult.
“Stansport really does a great job with these events, the kids really have an amazing time. We are so fortunate they picked our group to share this experience with.”
~ Sue Brunso, Director of LAPD Devonshire PALS
How You Can Help
Stansport pulls off this massive campout through key partnerships with LAPD Devonshire PALS and CSUN’s Aquatic Center at Castaic Lake, along with support from their loyal customers. Stansport has dedicated 5% of all website sales towards community building events like this one and they’ve made it transparent.
When you purchase an item from their online store you’ll see the breakdown (i.e. If I purchase a tent for $100 I’ll see in my cart that $5 of that hundred is headed to fund this campout. This means while you square away your camping gear you’re also helping under privileged youth do the same! What a breath of fresh air.