Coghlan’s Pop-Up Trash Can

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Between the lure of television, video games and social media, there are lots of reasons to stay inside. That’s especially true if you live in a city, or the “concrete jungle.” Even in a sprawling metropolis like Los Angeles surrounded by national parks, mountains and the ocean, there are whole neighborhoods full of cement, with hardly any grass or trees in sight. For the kids who live there, the idea of “nature” is practically a dream.

That’s why over the weekend of June 25, Stansport hosted our third annual Family & Friends Campout at Lake Castaic for the families that needed it most.

“It smells like nature! It smells like nature!”

That’s what Martha Morales’ two children kept telling her after the family had set up their tent at the campsite, just a short walk from the Castaic Lagoon, some 30 minutes north of Los Angeles. Sophia, 12, and Mauricio, 15, had never been camping before, but after an hour of being away from their phones, they were ready to explore the quiet, wooded areas and beaches that surrounded them.

Stansport, in partnership with LAPD Devonshire PALS, gave over two dozen families the opportunity to boat, barbecue and relax under the stars in a 24-hour crash course on the great outdoors.

The Morales were just three of 80 novice campers enjoying Stansports’ third annual event. The 24-hour excursion into the wilderness was designed to empower attendees to plan ahead, pack the right supplies, and learn how to set up up tents—everything they needed to know in order to venture out on their own adventures someday. Over the course of Saturday, the families were instructed how to set up their own camp sites before going in several groups out onto the lake for two hours of kayaking, canoeing or just chilling in the sand. A short boat and water safety course was generously taught and overseen by CSUN’s Aquatic Center at Castaic Lake. After dinner, everyone gathered around the campfire to roast marshmallows, make s’mores and tell stories before settling into quiet reverie of the stars above, fully visible away from the bright lights of Los Angeles.

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