The Lassen Park Foundation and Lassen Volcanic National Park have been introducing youth (ages 6 to 18 years) to the joys of camping in a national park since 1996. This summer enrichment program provides facilities and resources for non-profit organizations that serve at-risk or underserved youth from throughout Northern California. Through camping, exploration, and education, the youth camping program addresses the following goals:
· Educational excursions provide opportunities for young campers to step into Lassen's rich natural and cultural history.
· Through exploration of Lassen Volcanic’s mountain ecosystems, campers discover their connection to the complex web of life.
· Ranger-led environmental education activities emphasizing teamwork and cooperation enable children to safely experience the great outdoors.
· Campers enjoy fun outdoor activities, which encourage healthier lifestyles through exercise.
· Unforgettable experiences in the great outdoors foster future stewardship for our national parks.
Program Activities and Resources
Crags Campground, located just 4.4 miles from the Manzanita Lake Entrance Station, has been the site of numerous camping adventures by children participating in Lassen Park Foundation’s Youth Camping Program. For the past 18 years, this program has supported non-profit youth groups that serve at-risk or underserved children by awarding scholarships to offset their camping costs. Many of these young campers have never camped or visited a national park before participating in the Foundation’s youth camping program.
In addition to camping facilities at Crags Campground, the Foundation and Lassen Volcanic National Park provide a dedicated youth camping ranger and a wide variety of environmental learning activities including guided hikes, ranger talks, and in-camp programs. New discovery packs, made possible with a grant from the National Park Foundation, provide field guides, exploration tools, and a digital camera for all campers to document their adventures. Groups receive a CD loaded with photos and videos from their time at Lassen, allowing them to reconnect with the park at any time. Assistance is also provided by the park's high school interpretive interns who offer assistance with activities and act as mentors and role models for youth participants.
Coming Soon - A New Youth Campground at Lassen
In looking towards the future, Lassen Park Foundation and Lassen Volcanic National Park are planning a new camping facility which will provide greater opportunities for youth groups to camp, explore and enjoy Lassen. Crags Campground will be reconstructed over the next three years and converted to a permanent youth camp. The new campground will accommodate more youth groups and create strong connections between a younger generation and the park through outdoor immersion. A wide range of youth organizations including school groups and scouting organizations will be encouraged to use this designated youth campground to introduce children to their national park.
The Crags Youth Camp is slated to open in 2016, in time for Lassen Volcanic National Park’s 100th Anniversary. Crags Campground will be upgraded to include two large group camping areas each comprised of five tent cabins, two small group tent areas, two screened picnic/cooking shelters, 2 amphitheaters and a shower facility. Currently youth groups are required to bring all of their own camping gear so these expanded facilities will improve accessibility for a greater number of groups and reduce the amount of equipment required for first-time campers. The costs of these facility upgrades will be made possible through fundraising by the Lassen Park Foundation and project funding through the National Park Service. The Foundation’s goal is raising $300,000 by 2014.
Annual Youth Camping Grants
Each year, the Foundation provides small grants to non-profit youth organizations to facilitate camping trips for at-risk or underserved youth. Grants up to $1,000 help these groups cover the cost of camping supplies, food and transportation. Schools suffering from lack of funding, group homes, foster care agencies, mentoring groups, religious and urban youth organizations are among the many applicants who have received Foundation grants. Grant applications are solicited each winter with grant awarded by spring so groups can plan their trip.
Donations of any amount to this program will allow the Foundation to reach more kids. Thank you to all our donors for the difference you have made in a child’s life.