TOPEKA– Kids and families from the Topeka area discovered the great outdoors at the Second Annual Capital Campout on Saturday, July 11 at MacLennan Park in Topeka. Even though the Friday night camping portion was cancelled due to inclement weather, more than 50 children and adults came out the following morning from 8 a.m. to noon to enjoy a variety of outdoor activities and a bright, sunny day. The event was targeted for urban youth 8-10 years of age and their families.
The Topeka Capital Campout is part of National Great Outdoors Month in June, and Governor Sam Brownback officially proclaimed June 2015 as Great Outdoors Month in Kansas. However, the campout had to be postponed in early June due to inclement weather. Great Outdoors Month celebrates the natural wonder and outdoor spirit of America by encouraging Americans to get outside. Of course, Kansans can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities throughout the year, including visiting the state parks, hiking, biking, camping, fishing, wildlife watching and hunting.
The capital campers were treated to a hearty breakfast sponsored by Kaw Valley Bank, and then spread out around the park for experiences with archery, air-rifle target shooting, fishing, pictures with Smokey Bear, games, hands-on nature education, live animal presentations, water safety instruction, campfire cooking demonstrations and more. To wrap up the event, CFS Engineers sponsored a lunch for the campers, staff and volunteers.
A new activity this year was paddleboarding and kayaking on the pond. After each participant was fitted with a life jacket by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers water safety staff, KDWPT boating safety and law enforcement staff coached participants on using a paddleboard or kayak. KDWPT staff patrolled the pond on paddleboards and in kayaks so learners could enjoy a safe experience on the water.
KDWPT thanks the many companies, volunteers and staff members who worked tirelessly to make the event a success, including: The Coleman Company, Lead National Sponsor; CFS Engineers and Kaw Valley Bank, meal sponsors; American Recreation Coalition, Take Me Fishing.org and South Bend, national partners; National Park Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas Highway Patrol, Kansas Forest Service and Shawnee County Parks and Recreation, partner agencies; Kansas Wildscape Foundation, Kansas Recreation & Park Association, AmeriCorps and GetOutdoorsKansas.org, partner organizations; as well as Westar Energy Green Team, Kansas Hunter Education Instructors Association, Johnson County Parks & Recreation, Academy Sports + Outdoors, Keep America Beautiful, Shawnee County Solid Waste, Skinner Garden Store, Inc. and Advisors Excel.
Source: Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism