Dad’s not the only one who can set up a tent, catch a fish or start a campfire.
Moms love to camp too, and they got the chance to show off their skills at the sixth annual Mother Son Campout at Proctor Landing Park in Acworth over the weekend. The yearly event lasts from Saturday afternoon to Sunday morning and features a tentload of activities such as fishing, cooking over a bonfire, learning to use a compass, up-close encounters with animals and a night hike. Two local Boy Scout troops came by to help out, and volunteers from Northstar Church grilled hamburgers and hot dogs for the approximately 170 moms and sons who showed up.
“The moms love it,” said Acworth Parks and Rec youth programming coordinator Jordon Gonzalez. “It definitely gives them an opportunity to get out with their sons, some of the moms here are returners, they come every year because they love how simple it is. It’s very passive, we don’t really force them to do any of the activities, and they get a lot of bonding time. For some of the moms, it’s their very first time, and they’re really appreciative of being able to come out with their sons. For some of them, it’s their first time camping, setting up a tent for the first time, fishing for the first time, so it’s been a really, really positive response from the boys and the moms.”
Some of the moms who came out were clearly practiced campers, slapping together their tents and campsites in seconds while their sons looked on. Others relied on the always-prepared Boy Scouts to assemble tents, but everyone seemed to be having a good time. Boys ran around and engaged in horseplay while moms sat in collapsible chairs and dispensed granola bars and juice boxes.
Over by Lake Allatoona, stacks of fishing rods were piled on a picnic table, awaiting young anglers to try their hand. That’s where Acworth stay-at-home mom Gabriella Fraser and her son, Alessandro Jimenez, a fourth grader at Pickett’s Mill spent the afternoon, their lines strung out over the lake.
In addition to Alessandro, Fraser has a daughter and two older stepsons. She said she appreciates being able to spend time with Alessandro without his siblings around.
“This is our second year,” Fraser said. “It’s really nice, and he really enjoys being here. They can hang out with their friends, and also I can catch up with my friends. It’s a way to have a mom and son date. When you have other kids, it’s nice to have one-on-one time with them, do something different.”
Under the shade of a gazebo were Frey Elementary fourth graders Aiden Snarski and N.H., who said he did not want to use his real name.
The friends said they were thankful to their moms for bringing them, and their favorite activities were the cooking demonstration, where volunteers taught the kids to make pancakes and eggs in a hole on a griddle, as well as the paper rocket demonstration put together by the Boy Scouts.
Acworth parks and rec hosts the mother-son campout each fall, typically in September.
Gonzalez said they’re not too strict about the name and also welcome dads, daughters, grandparents, aunts and uncles.
“Not every family looks the same, so we always make accommodations for families that might be interested but feel like they might not fall within the exact title of the program, so you can always reach out to us,” she said.
For more information on events in Acworth parks, visit www.acworth.org/departments/parks_recreation_and_community_resource_department.