October 06, 2021 Category: Our Programs

Family and Fresh Air: Camping Brings Families Closer Together at Fresh Air Family Wellness

This summer, the Fresh Air Family Wellness program offered NYC families an overnight camping experience where they had a chance to explore nature and participate in engaging outdoor activities together.  

Meet three Fresh Air families who shared their stories with us! 

The Stevens Family 

Serene Stevens is a Fresh Air alum and attended Camp Mariah as a teenager. More than two decades later, she returned but this time with her three children, husband and mother, to have new camp experiences as a family! 

1, 2, 3 Cheese! The Stevens family was full of smiles during their whole time at camp! 

As a parent, Serene appreciates the importance of introducing her children to new experiences and was excited to give them the opportunity to enjoy many of the same camp activities at a place where she made many of her favorite childhood memories.  

“Just being able to go back to somewhere I spent so many of my summers and built so many amazing memories; being able to go back and experience it with my family was so grounding! It was the most heartwarming thing for me,” Serene shares.  

Shiloh, 7, tries fishing for the first time! 

While they were at camp, seven-year-old Shiloh was able to go fishing for her first time, with her family there to support her.  

“It was actually really nice! I got to do all these activities that I wanted to do for a long time now. I’ve always wanted to go fishing and do archery and that’s exactly what I did,” Shiloh said.  

Being able to attend a program like Fresh Air Family Wellness is an opportunity Serene believes every family should experience. “You get to see your children be children,” Serene shares. 

The Angeles Family

Glennys Angeles knew the importance of bringing her family of five to The Fresh Air Fund’s Sharpe Reservation. It was an opportunity for them to explore nature, take a break from their busy city lives and distract the kids from electronics.  

“Attending Family Wellness, we were able to spend our time outdoors! We were able to disconnect from all our electronics and really enjoy the outdoors. It’s a change from constantly being on a phone or a laptop, you get to enjoy nature without any of those other distractions. It was really great,” Glennys said.  

The Angeles family at The Fresh Air Fund’s Sharpe Reservation.

The kids couldn’t agree on their favorite activity since they had so much fun at all of them! “Fishing had to be my favorite activity. It’s something you don’t really get to do in the city at all. I would tell them to do it, to sign up right now! It’s an amazing experience,” Glennys said.

Watch out! Ryan throws the ball to his dodgeball teammates.  

“My favorite memory was when we were playing dodgeball and all the kids wanted to play with our family. We basically started a whole entire dodgeball game with everybody there,” Ryan shares.  

The Hao Family and The Lin Family

The Hao family and the Lin family enjoyed their outdoor adventure together. They played sports and even tried archery for the first time!

Biyi Lin, mother of three, first learned about The Fresh Air Fundfrom her coworker. Her initial thought was that it was an amazing opportunity for her children to take part in fun outdoor activities, and that’s exactly what happened! 

“This is a good place where people can gather together, and we can have fun together. The kids can get in touch with nature and try things they’ve never tried before,” Biyi shares.  

Some of the trips highlights for the Hao-Lin family was participating in camp activities such as archery, swimming and fishing.  

“Archery is one activity that [my children] never tried before, so when they tried it, they really loved it! The staff explained it and taught the kids – the counselors were very nice,” Biyi states. 

Warren, 9, shared that Family Wellness has not only allowed him to try new things like archery and practice swimming but also expand his artistic abilities. 

The Hao brothers, George and Warren, had so much fun playing soccer together with their friend!

After their time at Family Wellness, Biyi shared, “I think my children will feel that the world is very kind. People come from different cultures, from different places. Here at camp, we can see different families so it’s a good opportunity for them to learn that in a new environment.”