PA Campground Hosts Deaf Timberfest

mud wrestling at deaf timberfest

From Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

mud wrestling at deaf timberfestWhen Ron Markel attended the world pro lumberjack event 15 years ago, he noticed that there were no interpreters and thus no way for deaf people to participate.

“We decided to found our own world deaf lumberjack (event),” he said in sign language.

Markel, a logger from Williamsport, Md., helped to found the Eastern Deaf Timberfest, a four-day event held this year at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park in Mill Run in Fayette County. More than 1,000 deaf people were expected to participate by the end of the weekend.

Participants compete in activities including logging contests, water log-rolling, chain saw competitions, ax throwing, pole climbing, darts and horseshoes. The event also featured a Mr. and Ms. Timberfest competition as well as entertainment and activities for children.

This is the 11th Eastern Deaf Timberfest, which started as a yearly event and now is held every two years. It’s held at various locations across the East, and this is its first time in Western Pennsylvania. The event is organized by a committee of volunteers, and it’s held every other year at a different campsite.

On Timberfest off years, a family camp is held.

The vast majority of participants are deaf, Markel said, though a few hearing children of deaf parents participate. Markel and the other participants spoke through volunteer interpreter David Wright of Orange County, Va.

“I am proud of 1,000 deaf people. Deaf power,” Markel said, as he used his hand to cover his ear, then pumped his arm in the air.

As Markel signed, participants nearby practiced climbing a tall wooden pole while others tried their hand at cutting through a hefty log with a chain saw. In both events, participants compete for the best time.

At first, many deaf people didn’t know how to use the tools for the event, Markel said, but they’ve learned and become experts.

Markel, who serves as the event’s logging assistant director, attends workshops and courses to learn about safety guidelines.

“It is completely run by the deaf,” Marie Ann Campbell, the event’s chairwoman, said.

She said she finds Timberfest exciting.

“If it wasn’t for Timberfest, we wouldn’t have the time to be with our friends,” said Campbell, of Charles Town, W.Va.

Attendees travel from Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio and even the West Coast, she said.

Participants either stay on the campgrounds or at nearby hotels.

Rick Colosimone traveled from Ottawa, Ont., and called the event a “heartfelt” one, full of “warm friendship.”

Bruce Hubbard, one of the founders, said he knows of four other similar events in the nation. Campbell calls him “grandfather of the Timberfest.”

Beth Hortie, executive director of Eastern Deaf Timberfest, said the event brings everyone together talking about wood, relaxing and sharing in fellowship with one another.

“It’s our leisure, recreation activity,” Hortie said.


Beat the Heat with Jellystone Campgrounds

There’s no doubt about it – so far, summer 2012 has been a hot one! With much of the country facing record-breaking, super-intense heat, it’s hard for families to come up with activities that keep everyone cool but entertained. Look no further than your favorite Jellystone Park Camp-Resort, where swimming pools, splash parks, watersides and more offer a wet ‘n wild time for the entire family. Here’s just a glimpse at the fun to be had; be sure to check your nearby campground to see how they are helping guests beat the heat.

• A half-hour’s drive from Houston, the Lone Star Jellystone Park in Waller features a 350-foot whoosh into the water on its famous Pine Tree Plunge waterslide. Don’t miss the Ride the Serpent slide, the plunge pool and the swimming pool. For younger kids, visit the Splash Playground with its 5000-gallon Picnic Basket Blaster. And when you need to dry out just a little, the Wet-n-Wild Hey Wagon will keep you cool outside the pool.
• A giant swimming pool and a separate slide pool with three different water slides make this Minnesota campground perfect for pumping up the excitement. Keep an eye out for the Slip ‘n Slide, where kids will have a belly-busting good time.
• Teens, tweens and kids (not to mention Mom and Dad) splash into fun at the Splash Park and Yogi Bear’s Water Zone in Gloucester Point, VA. With waterslides, spray guns, buckets dumping gallons of water from far overhead and of course old-fashioned swimming, a weekend at Gloucester Point is sure to be wet, wild and full of memories.
Caledonia Wisconsin’s Water Zone features Yogi Bear’s Picnic Splash, with water slides, sprayers and a giant picnic basket that fills with water and dumps it out every few minutes. The Water Wars area offers water balloons and sling shots – what better combination for kids to help keep their parents nice and cool? The swimming and activity pool is for those who actually want to swim – and maybe play a little water basketball, volleyball and more.

Delaware Jellystone Park Breaks the Ice Between Tweens and Teens

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!

Take Part in the NWF’s Great American Backyard Campout

The team at Jellystone Parks is all for getting more kids playing outdoors, so we wanted to pass this message along from the National Wildlife Federation.

Spend the night under the stars with National Wildlife Federation and take your family’s first step into a lifetime filled with healthy, outdoor fun.

Did you know that today, 25% of kids play outside daily—as opposed to 75% a generation ago? Be a part of the Great American Backyard Campout and set an example for children that will get them excited about the great outdoors. Join thousands of campers on June 23 (or you can choose another day that’s convenient for you). Embrace an active, healthy outdoor lifestyle—we’ll show you how.

Improving your Kids’ Health is Rewarding for Them…….and for You!

You have the option to help support NWF’s work to connect kids with nature for their overall good health by raising money for our programs. You can set a personal or team fundraising goal, invite your friends and family to support your Campout, and earn the official Campout t-shirt. It’s easy—we’ll give you all the tips and tools you need to be successful plus the added reward of happier, healthier kids.

Visit for more information and to sign up.

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
*Coffee maker
*Heat (space heater) and air conditioning
*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.

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.

New Auction for Club Yogi Rewards Members

Back by popular demand, a Jellystone Park vacation package! Between now and June 27 at 10:59 PM CDT, Club Yogi Rewards members can bid points to have a chance to win this exciting camping vacation package:

•4-day/3-night stay for five persons at any Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park™ Camp-Resort. There are over 75 campgrounds to choose from!
•Choose your accommodation – from a tent to an RV site or deluxe cabin
•$100 gasoline gift card to help you get there
•$100 Yogi Bear™ licensed merchandise voucher so you can load up on your favorite souvenirs!

To participate in auctions, bid your points to win this exciting package. Starting bid is 500 Club Points. The highest bidder at the close of the auction will be selected as the winner.

Here’s how it works:

1.Members log onto
2.Your current point balance is available on your personalized web page.
3.Navigate to the Auction section of the website.
4.Follow the instructions to bid your points up to your current balance in the space provided; or visit any Jellystone Park to earn more Club Points for bidding.
5.When you bid, your Club Points will be frozen in your account. You won’t be able to redeem for Free nights or Yogi Bear™ merchandise with those points for the duration of the auction but you will get your points back if you don’t win.

Help Stop the Asian Longhorned Beetle From Killing Trees

The following information was given to members of the American Camp Association from the USDA. We wanted to pass it along to our campers who love trees as much as we do! Visit to report a sighting or for more information, or call their toll free hotline at 1-866-702-9938. If you would like more information, please feel free to email

You may already be familiar with the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB), an invasive insect that feeds on certain species of hardwood trees, eventually killing them. The pest most likely arrived in the United States unknowingly inside wood packing material from Asia. Since its discovery here in 1996, the beetle has caused tens of thousands of trees to be destroyed in Ohio, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Illinois.

The beetle threatens our nation’s camps and recreational areas, our forests, and suburban and urban trees. If it becomes established in the United States, the invasive insect has the potential to cause more damage than Dutch elm disease, chestnut blight and gypsy moth combined, destroying millions of acres of our hardwoods, including national forests and parks and even our own backyard trees. The recreation, timber, nursery, and maple syrup industries alone could suffer severe losses, not to mention the environmental and ecological impacts.
It is my love of the outdoors and of trees that keeps me passionate about my work with the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). I believe in the mission to save trees from this insect. Combined with your commitment to provide discovery, education, and service, I’m hoping we can stop this insect. After all, an ALB infestation is a sad tale for trees, since the trees are essentially being eaten alive. 

Here’s how this insect kills a tree from the inside out: in her lifetime the adult female chews up to 90 egg sites directly on the bark of a tree and that’s where she will lay her eggs. After the eggs hatch in roughly 2 weeks, the worm-like larvae tunnel into the growing layers of the tree. After several weeks, the larvae tunnel into the woody tissue of the tree, where they continue to feed and develop over the winter. This feeding and burrowing causes the tree to weaken and eventually die. In the spring, beetle larvae develop into an adult insect. In the early summer and warmer months, the adult beetles chew their way out, leaving dime-sized, perfectly round exit holes, starting their life cycle all over
again to then continue their devastating effects.

Now here’s the most important part. We need your help. You are our first line of defense. Staff members and campers alike: we need your eyes to be on the lookout for signs of damage and the insect itself. And of course, please be aware of the risks of transporting forest pests when moving firewood. Adult beetles are most active during the summer and early fall. They can be seen on trees, branches, walls, outdoor furniture, cars, sidewalks and in pool filters. While the pest may appear threatening, it is harmless to humans and pets. With these unique characteristics, it’s easy to identify:
• 1 to 1 ½ inches in length
• Long antennae banded in black and white (longer than the insect’s
• Shiny, jet black body with random white spots
• Six legs
• Legs may appear bluish in color

In addition to looking for the beetle, you can search for signs of
infestation, including:
• Shallow divits in the bark where the eggs are laid
• Dime-sized (1/4″ or larger), perfectly round exit holes in the tree
• Sawdust-like materials, called frass, on the ground and the branches
• Sap seeping from wounds in the tree

There is a wealth of information about the beetle that can be found online at www There is even curriculum available to make searching for and learning about the invasive insect a fascinating experience for young people. I urge you to make raising awareness of this pest part of your camp program.

Unfortunately, a successful eradication involves very difficult realities. The toughest of these includes the removal of the infested trees, and potentially, other exposed trees. This is not only a complicated, but an emotional issue. When the goal is to protect our nation’s natural resources from threats, the concept of removing trees is a dif ficult one. But the threat from this invasive insect is far too severe to do nothing. The 13 genera of trees the insect is known to infest make up a sizeable portion of the trees in our nation.
Ash Katsura
Birch London planetree
Elm Maple
Goldenrain tree Mimosa
Hackberry Mountain ash
Horsechestnut Poplar
Katsura Willow
We’re in this fight together. If you see something, say something. Help stop the Asian longhorned beetle’s destruction by raising awareness about the pest and encouraging campers to report any signs or symptoms of an infestation immediately.

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.

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