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Camp camp-outs’ days numbered

Laura Sturza

Art Booth and his family will not sleep in George Izay Park this

spring to be first in line to register their children for summer



“Oh, gee, I was going to have to buy a tent this year,” Booth said

sarcastically. “My kids will probably be disappointed because they

won’t get to spend the night in the park.”

Jokes aside, Booth was happy to learn the city is using a lottery


method this year for its camps. Following complaints by parents who

did not have the time or inclination to join the nearly 200 people

who camped out last year, the city changed its registration process.

The three most popular programs -- which include trips to

amusement parks -- were expanded to allow for 25% more enrollment. By

adding staff, the 10-1 ratio of campers to counselors will stay the


The camps include activities such as crafts, sports, swimming,


field trips and performing arts.

“There’s going to be winners and losers in any situation,” said

Mike Flad, director of Park, Recreation and Community Services. “But

it’s our feeling that this is more fair.”

The department is scheduled to review the new plan with its

advisory board Thursday night.

Karen Kolus stayed overnight last year to make sure her children

were enrolled in programs that would keep her from having to return


to the center three times a day, or wait there with them while one

program ended and another started.

But she said she understands the new system is likely to be more

fair for all parents.

Brochures for the camps were released Monday at recreation

centers, City Hall and libraries, and outline the new registration

process. From April 14 to 27, parents can get lottery numbers by

showing proof of residency, their children’s birth certificate and

proof of school enrollment. The numbers will be available at Verdugo

and McCambridge recreation centers.

On the morning of registration, May 3, at Olive Recreation Center,

numbers will be drawn at random for registration.

Summer swim lessons will use the same process, but numbers will be

distributed April 21 to May 7, with registration May 10 at Olive

Recreation Center.

The department plans to evaluate the new registration process at

the end of the year.