Porter County Parks offers family fun

Written by Matt Pera. Posted in Entertainment, Featured, Health & Wellness

Published on April 12, 2012 with No Comments

We are proud to say at Porter County Parks and Recreation that we offer some of the most fun and affordable family programs and events in Northwest Indiana. And two of our biggest of the year are coming up this spring and summer.

Our annual Spring Out to Sunset Festival takes place May 19, and registration for our popular summer camp program, Camp FUNset, is underway.

Information about these and many other programs can be found on our brand new Web site – www.portercountyparks.org. Be sure to go to this new comprehensive site and learn more about our department and what we offer.

Camp FUNset

Last summer, hundreds of kids came to Sunset Hill Farm County Park to hike, play, work on arts and crafts, meet special guests, enjoy nature, and make new friends. By the end of the summer, Porter County Parks and Recreation had more than doubled the number of campers from the previous year.

Camp FUNset Director Katie Rizer said she expects that growth to continue this year, adding that she is excited even more kids will have the opportunity to experience these dynamic day camps.

Registration for Camp FUNset is now open. Each camp will offer team-building, nature hikes and activities, arts and crafts, games, songs, a closing ceremony and family open house.  Some new features this year include a low ropes course, archery at select camps and teams that are divided into age groups.

“We are Camp FUNset, so the first thing kids should expect is to have fun,” Rizer said.  “In 2012 we’ve added a dynamic new Challenge Course to the grounds at Camp FUNset and are targeting team building initiatives to our staff training as well as each of our weekly camps.”

Camps will take place from June 11 to Aug. 2, with most going from Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. A full list of camps and descriptions can be found below.

Camp FUNset is open to kids entering first through seventh grades for the upcoming 2012-13 school year. The cost for each weeklong camp is $75, while a mini-camp July 2 and 3 costs $40 and a one-night campout June 29-30 is available for $35.

A new program called Leaders in Training Experience (LITE) is also available this year for kids ages 13 to 16. These teens will have the chance to work directly with Camp FUNset staff and assist counselors as they lead games, songs, hikes and adventure activities.

For information on Camp FUNset, or the LITE program, contact Rizer at 219-309-0680 or krizer@porterco.org or visit www.portercountyparks.org.

Spring Out to Sunset

Spring is one of our favorite times of year. The weather gets warmer, people shed their winter coats, and families and friends meet at the park to enjoy nature and each other.

We celebrate this seasonal transformation every year with Spring Out to Sunset, a festival that is all about fun, families, and active living. The theme of this year’s event is “A Community on the Grow,” and the activities that we are offering encourage trying new things and enjoying unique experiences – from theatre, art and music to fitness, kites and dogs.

This year, Spring Out to Sunset will take place on May 19 at Sunset Hill Farm County Park. This date is significant because it is also National Kids to Parks Day. We can’t wait to see kids enjoying our park with their families. 

Some of the highlights we have planned for this year include a visit from a talented team of dogs that have wowed crowds during NBA and NFL halftime shows, children’s workshops and performances by Chicago Street Theatre and Front Porch Music, a community mosaic organized by Lubeznik Center for the Arts, and a stunt kite team.  

More info on this amazing festival will become available in the coming months. Mark your calendars for May 19 now.

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Camp FUNset

Below is a look at the camps that will be offered at Camp FUNset this summer. All camps cost $75, unless otherwise indicated.

Ready … Set …


Leadership Camp

June 11-14

Campers will enjoy team-building activities that encourage self-esteem, leadership and trust. They will also be the first group to experience the park’s new Low Ropes Course.


Active Camp

June 18-21

Kids who are always on the move will love Dash! Campers will create a camp obstacle course to run on the last day, and participate in lots of other fun activities, like Tae Kwon Do.


Survivor Camp

June 25-28

Campers will learn all about surviving in the woods during this unique camp. Starting campfires, building shelters, using a compass – kids will discover how to “rough it” in the wilderness.


Overnight Campout

June 29-30 ($35)

Graduates of Survivor Camp will put their skills to the test at the Sunset Hill Farm Campground. Star-gazing, night hikes, a campfire, songs and s’mores will be a part of this overnight adventure.



July 2-3 ($40)

This two-day mini-camp is perfect for kids who want to try a little bit of everything Camp FUNset has to offer. Hikes, arts and crafts, team-building and intro to archery are included.


Film Camp

July 9-12

Campers will learn to write, choreograph, film and edit their very own flashmob music video. Kids will also get to present a live performance to family and friends at the end of the week.


Pioneer Camp

July 16-19

Campers will go back in time to when kids worked on the farm, caring for animals, planting crops and creating their own games. The week will end with a wagon journey along the “Oregon Trail!”


Art Camp

July 23-26

Tie-dye a camp T-shirt, create rain sticks, design a book about Sunset Hill Farm and use creative skills to paint one of the park’s wagons. This is always one of the most popular camps.


Explorer’s Camp

July 30-Aug. 2

Kids who love nature can become Junior Naturalists at Explore! Campers will dig into nature as they learn about the diverse wildlife that exists at Sunset Hill Farm.

About Porter County Parks and Recreation

The mission of the Porter County Parks and Recreation Board and Department is to preserve, protect and manage the natural, cultural and recreational resources within a diverse park system. For more information, call 219-465-3586, or e-mail pcparks@porterco.org.

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About Matt Pera


All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Matt Pera is the communications director for Porter County Parks and Recreation. He has a background in journalism and public relations. For more information about Porter County Parks and Recreation, call 219-465-3586, or e-mail pcparks@porterco.org.

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