When the Montoya family has its family reunion this summer, they expect close to 450 people to show up, including a great grandmother, who turns 100 this year. But they’re not going to hold the event at a hotel.
Instead, the five generations of the Montoya family will congregate at the Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in Larkspur, Colo., a relatively low cost venue that has the added benefit of being in the great outdoors.
“Our family loves camping. It’s something that’s gotten down from generation to generation. We never even thought of other options,” George Garcia, a family spokesman, stated in a news release.
The idea of having family reunions in campgrounds is spreading across the country as people look for affordable, innovative ways to spend quality time together, according to Michele Wisher, director of marketing for Milford, Ohio-based Leisure Systems Inc., which franchises Jellystone Parks.
Across the Jellystone system, reunions happen throughout the summer involving families with relatively small groups to huge gatherings like the Montoyas, Wisher said.
Garcia said his family chose the Larkspur Jellystone partly because of its facilities and location in a scenic setting near Denver, which is convenient for most of the Montoya family.
The campground also has numerous amenities, including a grocery store and laundry facility, a 2.1-mile, 18-hole championship disc golf course, which is naturally maintained by herds of friendly goats, a playground, a heated swimming pool, two small fishing ponds, a gem-mining sluice, and a pedal cart track.
The Montoyas plan to make use of the park’s pavilion for their meals and special events. They also plan to make use of the campground’s volleyball courts, Garcia said.
But while Jellystone Parks are famous for having organized family activities and themed weekends, Garcia said the Montoyas already have enough of their own activities planned to keep themselves entertained.
“We’re all very close, from first cousins to sixth cousins,” he said. “We hope to just continue this tradition forever.”
David and Deidre Carroll from Keller, Texas, are the $10,000 grand prize winners of the Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park 40th Anniversary Video Contest.
The Carrolls and their daughters Ashton (age 7) and Jordan (age 5), received their $10,000 prize and a gift basket full of Yogi Bear souvenirs on a return visit tothe Jellystone Park in Canyon Lake, Texas – the site where the winning video was filmed during the family’s stay over the Fourth of July holiday, according to a news release.
“We’re very happy for the Carroll family. They reflect our mission to foster a fun family experience that creates lasting memories,” said Michele Wisher, director of marketing for Leisure Systems Inc., the franchisor of Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts. “It was great to see so many entertaining and enthusiastic videos that show how our campers enjoy our parks.”
The contest, which ran May 23 to Sept. 8, required the videos to be taken at any of the 71 Jellystone Park Camp-Resort locations and be 30 to 90 seconds in length (maximum length is 3 minutes.) Participants submitted 77 videos from 16 states and two provinces in Canada.
The general public was asked to vote for their favorite videos which accounted for 50% of the overall score. A panel of judges from LSI also judged each video and contributed to the other 50% of the contestant’s score. More than 21,000 votes were cast online with the Carrolls’ video garnering the highest overall score from the public and Leisure Systems. All of the videos can be seen at www.jellystonefun.com.
Because of fond memories David has from visits to Jellystone parks as a child, the Carroll family frequently visits Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts to spend quality time as a family. The Carrolls heard about the contest online and decided to film the video, which stars young Jordan Carroll asleep with her stuffed Yogi bear. In a dream sequence Yogi magically comes to life and Jordan relives all of the fun from her visit.
“We are thrilled to win the $10,000 grand prize,” said Deidre Carroll. “The girls are very excited because they are allowed to decide how to spend a small portion.”