Delaware Jellystone Park Breaks the Ice Between Tweens and Teens

teens-on-golf-cart

Teena Stout says there’s one question parents always ask when they arrive at the Jellystone Park in Lincoln:

“What am I going to do with my 14-year-old who will not disconnect from the Internet?”

Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts, of course, are nationally known for having a wide assortment of family friendly activities. But Stout, manager of the Lincoln, Delaware campground , is taking a new approach to prying children away from the Internet.


She recently hired two specialists in childhood education to develop new strategies to engage tweens and teens in activities that encourage them to step out of their comfort zones and participate in a variety of outdoor activities that stimulate their minds as much as their bodies.

The specialists include Jessica Lehr, who recently graduated from the University of Delaware in Newark with a Bachelor of Science in elementary education; and Marcy McKee, a student from Methodist University in North Carolina, who is assisting Jessica in developing new approaches to Jellystone Park’s activity programs.

The activities start on Friday nights, usually with “Hey Rides,” which are designed to break the ice between many of the children who are spending the weekend at the park.

Saturday’s activities often include a variety of relay races and timed scavenger hunts that require the kids to take pictures of various items with their cellphones.

“When we did this over Memorial Day weekend, we thought it would take an hour for the kids to complete the scavenger hunt with their cellphones, but with Jessica’s help, the kids formed teams and we had winners in half an hour,” Stout said.

The park has also developed building block games in which children of different ages are paired up to build igloos and other structures using oversize, styrofoam building blocks. It’s a way to engage older children in teaching younger children how to work cooperatively with others to complete a task.

Stout said these activities break down barriers and help create bonds of friendship that temporarily enable the kids to replace their focus on “being cool” with a focus on simply having fun and participating in park activities, many of which encourage physical activity.

“We want kids to learn how to have fun exercising in fresh air,” Stout said.

Jellystone Park activities also include bicycle parades and themed weekends in which kids and their parents dress up in clothing or costumes that reflect the weekend’s theme. This summer’s themes include a Mardi Gras weekend June 22nd to 24th; a Family Olympics weekend July 13th to 15th, complete with bronze, silver and gold medals for the winning athletes; a Christmas in July weekend July 27th to 29th and a chocolate lovers weekend Aug. 3rd to 5th.

“We get them to do things they would never do at home, and they have fun,” Stout said, adding that when children form friendships in organized activities they are more likely to have more fun when they see the same kids swimming in the swimming pool or going down the waterslides or simply bicycling around the campground.

Jellystone Park also takes pride in establishing a safe and secure environment for families.

“Everything we do is focused on establishing this family community,” Stout said, adding that children are often seen playing basketball until 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. before quiet hours are enforced.

The park also has weekend dances and Karaoke competitions. “We know we’ve done well when we see children with tears in their eyes when they leave.”

It’s good for two reasons. For starters, Stout knows they had a good time. It also means they will likely come back!

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Bloomington Campground Reduces Cabin Rates

Jellystone Park campground in Bloomington has announced a rate reduction for their White Pine Cabins. You can save over $30 per night! Call 812-824-3322 to make a reservation.

Weekends: $85.00 per night
Weekdays: $75.00 per night
Holidays: $95.00 3 night minimum

Our White Pine Cabins feature a separate bedroom. They are not in a wooded setting but offer a nice area for your outside relaxation. These cabins are rustic inside featuring beautiful knotty pine wood interiors with high ceilings, and white pine exteriors. These cabins sleep 2 adults and 2 children nicely.
 
*A separate bedroom with full-size bed
*Pull-out couch or futon
*Full bathroom with toilet, sink and shower
*Microwave
*Coffee maker
*Mini-fridge
*Heat (space heater) and air conditioning
*Porch
*TV with DIRECTV
*Picnic table and fire ring

We have one handicapped White Pine Cabin that does not have a separate bedroom. It has a full size bed and bunk beds.

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PA Campground Upgrades & Expands

From the Daily Courier, By Rachel Basinger

Campers at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park campground in Mill Run are experiencing the newly constructed 6,500-square-foot space in the most recently developed area at the top end of the resort that houses a store, a restaurant and a deck that overlooks the pool, spray zone and waterslide area.

Each year owner Randy Work tries to commit to adding something new or updating the facilities in some way that will benefit the campers.

“We want to strive to develop and run the best camping facility possible and to do that, we need to continue to expand and offer the unusual camping experience,” he said.

The camping resort had meager beginnings, opening in 1974 as Mill Run Campground with just 40 camping sites.

Today there are more than 200 campsites, 43 cabins, a snowless snowtubing track, ceramics, massage area, night-time movies, scavenger hunts, themed weekends and two water parks.

The lower water park includes a swimming pool, two 400-foot slides and a small spray zone. The newest water park, built just last year at the upper end of the resort includes a pool, two additional slides known as Hurricane Mountain and a Caribbean-themed spray park known as Pirate Lagoon.

In recent years, Work and his family were able to purchase additional property in order to expand the park and develop the upper end.

Operations Manager Tracy Czambel said that with the purchase of the additional property, they decided to create a new entrance in that area. The former entrance was beginning to be too small and crowded with the growth of the park as well as the continually expanding size of campers, she said. “We just had too short of a driveway and needed to redo the entrance.”

With the new entrance, Work decided to construct a new pool and water park in that area, quickly making it the new center of the campground for activities.

Because of that, a store and restaurant were needed. The old store was located at the former entrance and a little out of the way.

Construction on the new store and restaurant began in August last year and was completed in March.

While the former restaurant had the typical hamburger, hot dog, pizza and other quick-pick foods, Czambel said the new restaurant offers three meals a day, including a breakfast buffet from 8 to 11 a.m. on weekends, that is open to the public.

“We wanted to offer a variety of foods on the menu as well as a lot more dinner specials, like barbecue chicken and ribs,” she said. “We’ll always have hoagies and pizza and those other quick hits, but we wanted to be able to offer more.”

Work said they are planning to renovate the former store at the lower end of the resort to offer a larger Laundromat, a small fitness area and a rental facility for business meetings, receptions or showers.

With all of the expansion, the resort has become a five-star campground. Within the Yogi Bear franchise, it has garnered such awards as camp resort of the year, operator of the year, customer service award, recreation award and, consistently, the Pinnacle Award.

“We are now a destination,” Work said. “People come here to enjoy what we have to offer because we offer an experience that most RV parks don’t.

“Our cabins have cable, television, heating and air conditioning and Wi-Fi, and some have fireplaces, refrigerators, stoves and screened-in front porches,” he added. “There isn’t much lacking as far as what our customers want.”

While Work did not name any specific future upgrades or expansions, he did say they are continuously looking at different and unusual ways to expand.

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Indiana Campground Hosts Operation Appreciation for Military Families

For the second year, CrossRoads RV and Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Fremont, IN hosted an open house in honor of all active-duty and retired military personnel. Operation Appreciation Open House was held on Armed Forces Day, May 19. The event was in celebration of the continuing partnership between the two Northern Indiana businesses, according to a news release. The program was designed to benefit active-duty military personnel with some “rest and relaxation.” For Operation Appreciation, Jellystone Park donates a seasonal lot while CrossRoads RV supplies a luxurious Hampton destination trailer for military personnel and their families to use, free of charge.

During the open house, which ran from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., all of Jellystone Park’s amenities were available, including mini-golf, a waterslide and basketball. Additionally, special children’s activities were planned and a lunch was served. CrossRoads RV also offered tours of the Operation Appreciation Hampton unit.

Boo Boo and Yogi get a chance to thank Roger Barry, (left), Fremont, Ind., Jellystone Park owner, and Don Emahiser, Pesident of CrossRoads RV, for making Operation Appreciation a huge success.

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Trailer Life Directory Highlights North America’s Best Campgrounds

These Jellystone Parks are in the top 100 of all Good Sam parks and are named the “Best of the Best” for 2012.
Harrisville, PA
Woodstock, NB

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Campground Is Home Away from Home for Pittsburgh Family

Jane Harms was a newlywed with toddlers when her father-in-law introduced her to Kozy Rest Kampground in Harrisville, PA.
 
Thirty years later, four generations of the Harms family still camp at the Kozy Rest Jellystone Park Camp-Resort.
 
“Kozy Rest is like a second home to me,” said Jane Harms, who lives an hour and 20 minutes away in Pittsburgh. “At least twice a month, all four generations of our family are there together. We’ve celebrated some wonderful times there.”
 
Jane said Kozy Rest is so closely woven into the fabric of the Harms family that they’ve celebrated every family milestone there, including her father-in-law’s 90th birthday, her in-laws’ 65th wedding anniversary, her grandson’s first communion and her granddaughter’s first birthday.
 
“I’ve loved that park since the day my father-in-law bought his first trailer,” she said, adding that there’s something magical about spending quality family time camping in the great outdoors.
 
“I love the beauty of nature and being with family and having a good hot dog over an open fire,” she said.
 
Jane and her family enjoy the park so much they rent campsites for the entire camping season and leave their trailers at the park. That way they can use them on weekends or whenever they want to be there.
 
Many families use Jellystone Park at Kozy Rest as their venue of choice for quality family time.
 
Fifty-one-year-old Tom Slayton lives in eastern Ohio, but meets at the park with his father and brother twice a year to have quality family time together.
 
“We always camped together when we were kids. But we had never done it as adults,” Tom said, adding that he and his brother and father started camping together again about seven or eight years ago.
 
“We like staying in their yurts. We just bring our sleeping bags and food and we have a blast together,” he said.
 
The Slaytons also cook gourmet meals together when they camp. In fact, their latest dinner menu included plans to cook stuffed veal chops with spinach and bread crumbs, mushrooms and ham; smashed potatoes; and glazed carrots.
 
“We’ll cook it all from scratch at the campground,” Tom said. “We’ll even have a bottle of Cabernet from Napa Valley in California.”

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Jellystone Park Cave City, KY Recognized by Trip Advisor

Jellystone Park Cave City, KY was recognized by Trip Advisor with their 2012 Certificate of Excellence. According to Trip Advisor, “our travelers consistently commend your property with the highest praise, and we recognize your 4.5 rating as an exceptional achievement.”

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Jellystone Park Campgrounds Earn High Ratings From Woodalls

Woodall Publications announced the top-rated, privately-owned RV parks and campgrounds in North America through its 5W/5W rating system. Of the 8,000 privatelyowned parks listed in its 2012 North American Campground Directory, 363 parks earned the highest and most coveted designation in the Woodall’s rating system.

Congrats to these parks for their award!
Amboy, IL
Fremont, IN
Lawrence, KS
Hagerstown, MD
Frankenmuth, MI
Horn Lake, MS
Pelahatchie, MS
Gardiner, NY
North Hudson, NY
North Java, NY
Woodridge, NY
Niagara Falls, Ontario
Harrisville, PA
Mill Run, PA
Quarryville, PA
Gatlinburg, TN
Caledonia, WI
WI Dells, WI

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Colorado Campground Offers Opportunity to Interact with Baby Goats

Campers who stay at the park from Spring Break through Earth Day may get a chance to bottle feed a new generation of Nubian dairy goats

LARKSPUR, Colorado – The Grenier family can hardly wait for Spring Break. Not only because they get to go camping at the Jellystone Park campground , but because the timing might work out to bottle feed the park’s newest members – a new generation of Nubian dairy goats! “The goats have roped us in!” exclaimed Lisa Grenier of Castle Rock, whose five children have become enamored of Jellystone’s goats, particularly her 12-year-old daughter, who got a chance to trim the hooves of one of them last fall.

Several Castle Rock families, in fact, are staying in close contact with Jellystone Park owner Ian Steyn regarding the park’s new arrivals. “We’re really looking forward to going there and bottle feeding the baby goats,” said Jennifer Sturgeon of Castle Rock, who has taken her two boys, ages 6 and 9, to the park several times in recent months to interact with some two dozen goats that live on the property.

Steyn brought what he thought were 24 male goats to his campground last year after a local dairy goat farmer expressed remorse over having to butcher the males, since they couldn’t produce as much milk. But Steyn later discovered that four of the goats were “mis-sexed,” and he wound up with four doelings, who later became pregnant does that are about to give birth.

But since Steyn bottle-fed all of his goats from infancy, the animals are unusually tame, companion goats that interact gently with guests, sometimes even jumping on their laps like cats or dogs. “They’re great entertainment for the kids, and they’re just fun to watch,” Sturgeon said, adding that they can also be trained to go hiking. “You can put a pack on them and they’ll go hiking with you.”

In addition to providing entertainment for children, Steyn uses the goats to naturally maintain and fertilize the grass on the campground’s 2-mile long disc golf course. He also uses the does to educate park guests about the benefits of goat’s milk and the cheese that’s produced from it, which is called “chevre.” In fact, the park frequently holds classes for guests who want to learn how to milk a goat and make various products from it, including cheese, butter, ice cream, pudding and goat soap.

Guests also help with bottle-feeding, since young goats need to be fed three times a day. Some guests have even adopted some of the goats, and care for them on a regular basis. “We use the goats to tow sleds in the winter, and in summer, they tow little carts that the kids can ride,” Steyn said.

Close to 20 goats are expected to be born at the Jellystone Park at Larkspur around the time of spring break and will need to be bottle fed for several weeks, potentially until Earth Day. For more information about the goats and other family activities and attractions at the Jellystone Park in Larkspur, visit www.jellystonelarkspur.com.

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South Dakota Campground Sees Increasing Demand for Camping, But from a New Demographic

The Jellystone Park campground in Sioux Falls is seeing more local campers and fewer long-distance travelers, a change the park attributes to rising fuel costs and difficulties people have getting away for longer trips

SIOUX FALLS, South Dakota – When Ray Aljets built the campground that later became Jellystone Park Camp-Resort 23 years ago, most of his business was east-west traffic, particularly families from Chicago, Milwaukee and Minneapolis who traveled westward to visit the Black Hills.  Today, however, 65 to 70 percent of the Jellystone Park’s business is families who live within 100 miles of the park. “We still get the east-west traffic,” said Aljets’ son, Bruce, who now runs the park with his wife, Donna, and two of their children, Ray and Christina. “But now most of our business is local.”  

Business is strong, too. Last year, for example, the park surpassed its 2010 revenues by 11 percent, and this year looks to be just as strong as last year, if not stronger, Bruce Aljets said, adding that his park opens for the camping season on April 1st.  But the dynamics are different.

Fuel costs are higher than they used to be, which encourages people to visit campgrounds that are closer to home. Today’s families also have a harder time getting away for extended periods of time. Both parents usually work and often have a harder time getting their vacations to coincide. Kids also have more sporting activities available to them in the summer than they used to, all of which encourages families to camp closer to home. The good news, Bruce Aljets said, is that camping is as popular as ever, with one caveat. “People don’t want to rough it,” he said. “They want the comforts of home when they camp. Even tent campers want Wi-Fi so they can watch Netflix movies.”

As a result, Aljets provides his guests with cabins with house-like amenities, including cable TV and Wi-Fi service and hot showers. The campground also has a jumping pillow, pedal cart rentals, a heated swimming pool and spa, an indoor theatre and a miniature golf course. And for those who don’t have a tent or RV, the park provides a dozen rental cabins. 

Aljets’ Jellystone Park also has an activities director and provides organized family activities from May through the end of October that are designed to appeal to all ages, including Mother’s Day and Father’s Day weekend events; Mardi Gras and Christmas in July celebrations; and Bruce’s favorite, the “Messy Weekend” July 27th to 30th, which includes a chocolate pudding Slip N Slide, bobbing for worms and other messy activities. Late summer and fall activities include a corn maze and Halloween-themed weekend events, including costume and campsite decorating contests. A complete listing of activities and themed weekends is available at www.jellystonesiouxfalls.com.

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