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Camping at French Creek State Park 2022

CSP, HopeWorx and CIC sponsored a camping trip to French Creek State Park on September 23-25, 2022. The trip was partially funded with a CSP grant of $300.

Peer Palooza at French Creek State Park   - By Ameika Malcolm

New site, new challenges, new adventures - 24 people and one visitor…what could go wrong??

 

From getting lost to the drama of the Porta Potties, dog rescue mission to running out of chocolate… this trip was a test of our resiliency & definition organic peer support at its finest. 

 

Day 1 - the temperature was 47 degrees felt like 30. Needless to say, supplies for warmth was not enough as people doubled up on extra layers. Some people forgot supplies. Some supplies went missing. “Hot tempers” We Just had to make it through the night… and thank the fire gods. Oh oh….and there was a mystery dog that show up on our site. After some investigation…One person tried to keep him and until we could find the owner or a ranger…but that was short lived…the dog destroyed the tent and bolted off into the dark. We found out the next day that the owner lived nearby and he was safely home.

 

Day 2 – With some rest, food, camp meeting, and warmer weather…it was a beautiful day. We went hiking, got on the lake with boats and Kayak, playing games, and good conversation. The world was right for a while, when here comes the park ranger returning a member of the pack…double checked is anyone else missing?? Head count checks out, thank the ranger and Dinner bell rings – food yah!!

Around the fire shooting the “words”, s’mores, laughter, star gazing, chit chatting with neighbors - the Boys Scott – the best way to end the day.

 

Day 3 - Breakfast and the break down and pack up Apocalypse…together we got it done…somehow everything worked itself out with one goal in mind…to get home and shower!! At least I think that’s the goal! 

 

I quickly realize that at least five people were going back to being homeless. Two of the five people came to HopeWorx Friday morning for the first time and heard about the trip…we were able to take them along. 

 

We got packed up surprisingly earlier than I thought. This gave us enough time to gather by the Porta Potty to say goodbye to them stinky suckers. Many campers expressed the bushes may have been a better deal. And we hope in the future there is an upgrade for the French Creek campsite.

 

We will not be going back to this site, but we now have a new camping story to tell. We are looking at Evansburg Park and returning to Green Lane.

 

Now we are back to reality laughing about the experience…Thanks to everyone who help to make this trip possible. The Montgomery County Community Support Program for their continued support and for granting us $300 for supplies. Creating Increased Connections for supplying us with games, group chats and cooking gears. Martha’s Choice food pantry food supplies and canopies. Thanks to the peer programs that organize for peers to come camping. Thanks to all the new campers who stuck it out. 

 

And on behalf of all the campers… a big THANKS! to kitchen crew and the head chef. 

 

Thanks to the drivers for getting us there safe and back. As well as the people who came back to HopeWorx to help unload the van.

 

Jason and Karleen thank you for saving me from self-destruction. Guess what… yes, I am a robot!

 

Here is some feedback about the trip…

 

Ginnae -

I had a great time on the camping trip at French Creek. The experience of the cook with all the food was fantastic. Ameika supervised all of us to make sure we were all ok. Went on the boat, made smores and camped in the tent. I had a peaceful experience!

 

Luis -

My camping trip was a very good experience. I had a good time with the HopeWorx crew. I will always remember this experience and will keep it in my heart. I got a chance to experience the outdoors. This trip was very wonderful, and I hope we get to go out camping again in the future.

Here's what we did...