Nearly one hundred parents and children braved the cold this weekend at Camp Oakes in Big Bear, California. For the second year ASY families had the opportunity to experience Camp Oakes, the site of the ASY’s kids’ summer camp, during the winter – and they had a blast!
Camp kicked off on Friday night with pizzas and a roaring fire in the dining to warm everyone up from the drive in. Campers got to explore the night sky with the help of Camp Oakes’ two telescopes and observatory. Despite snow flurries all day on Saturday the families enjoyed riflery, archery, crafting, cookie decorating, a bounce house, a carol sing-a-long led by the Bear Big High School Choir, and – the highlight of the day – a surprise visit from Santa Claus himself! Camp Staff kept everyone’s spirits high despite the wind with a bottomless supply of hot chocolate and coffee and roaring fires in the fireplace at the dining hall. While gathered around the fireplace to warm back up in between activities the families got to know each other better and make a few new friends! Activities continued into Sunday with more archery and the climbing wall before everyone began to pack up and head home to 29 Palms.
The Winter Weekend Wonderland drew families of all varieties and sizes, from couples enjoying a weekend away to new parents with infants and large families as well. Everyone enjoyed the escape from the desert – many had never been to Big Bear or even knew it was so close! Several service members were preparing to deploy and especially appreciated the opportunity to have some holiday fun with their families before departing. The ASY was proud to bring this opportunity to our active duty families, who are so often apart during the holiday season.