Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

June 25, 2013

New York State Parks Contact:
Dan Keefe - 518-486-1868
OFCS Contact:
Jennifer Givner - 518-402-3130

New York State Helps Connect Families with the Outdoors

More than 100 families around the state take advantage of camping opportunity
Joint initiative encourages families to bond, experience nature together

ALBANY, NY, June 18, 2013 - New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) Commissioner Rose Harvey and Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) Commissioner Gladys Carrión today announced a partnership to encourage foster families to get outdoors this summer and enjoy New York's treasured park system.

State Parks and OCFS, with support from The North Face and its national Explore Your Parks™ program, are offering overnight camping experiences to 135 foster families who are new to camping or looking to re-connect with nature. Families who registered will be participating from July through September at campgrounds across the state.

This camping program provided gift cards for a free two-night stay at a State Park campground of the families’ choosing. Many of the parks participate in the Camper Assistance Program with volunteers on hand at various points throughout the season to welcome new campers and enrich their visitor experience. Foster families from throughout the state were offered the opportunity to participate on a first come/first serve basis.

Along with the gift card and reservation information, participating foster families will receive from State Parks a special camping experience package with Camping 101 tips, a knapsack, a keepsake, and customized information about outdoor programs, trail maps, events and family-friendly activities. Participants who share their fun camping photos or memories will also have the chance to win a full North Face camping equipment package, including a six-person tent, sleeping bags, camping chairs, cook stove and other outdoor accessories, all compliments of the company.

"Through this joint effort, we hope to instill a love of the outdoors and a connection to nature for more New York families. Together we look forward to sharing this passion and supporting an outdoor legacy that can be passed down from generation to generation," said State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey.

“It is always important for foster families to find activities that unite them,” said OCFS Commissioner Carrión. “Foster families play an essential role in providing temporary, safe, and nurturing homes to children when their parents are unable to care for them. This joint initiative is the perfect opportunity to give something back to them and allow them to take a time-out and experience all that New York State parks have to offer.”

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation maintains and operates 179 state parks and 35 historic sites, which are visited by 60 million people annually. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit www.nysparks.com, connect on Facebook, or follow the agency on Twitter.

The Office of Children and Family Services serves New York by promoting the safety, permanency and well-being of children, families and communities. For more information, visit ocfs.ny.gov, “like” the New York State Office of Children and Family Services Facebook page, or follow @NYSOCFS on Twitter.

Since 2010, The North Face has provided community events, free activity guide booklets and park passes and camping discounts to the public through its Explore Your Parks program. In addition to New York, the program includes 12 other markets nationwide, and currently partners with the Chicago Park District and state park agencies in California, Idaho, Massachusetts, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Missouri, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Oregon. Visit www.exploreyourparks.com for more details.

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