Kayla Vance

Coletrain Music Academy student Kayla Vance volunteers in the Kids Zone tent while a guest tries out a drum set.

At Campout for the Cause, the sound of young children zooming between the legs of adults is a refrain that continues throughout the weekend.

From the foundation of its cause upward throughout its programming, the festival is a family-friendly event through and through.

“Campout for the Cause is the most incredibly family friendly event I’ve ever been to. It’s just set up for families. It’s incredible,” said Sarahndipity Johnsen, a Grand Junction author of children’s books, who brought her “Animals Get Funky” program to the festival for the second year.

“It’s such a safe space that they can be themselves and the parents can sit and watch and everyone’s safe.”

Set during the morning, when adults are methodically stretching themselves into intricate sequences of asanas and measured pranayama breathing, Animals Get Funky offers young children a kind of parallel practice that’s more appropriate to the movements their growing bodies are accustomed to, moves like the Aligned Alpaca, the Chimpanzee Conga and the Llama Limbo.

“We developed the program to be what children are experiencing from the time of birth to 3, so we’re doing all the movements that are innate in development and developing it into a class that’s a dance so that they’re having fun with it,” Johnsen said. “The goal is to allow kids to be into their bodies more, and it also invigorates the mind.”

Campout also had ample opportunities for kids to connect with playing music. Judith Piazza led daily drum circles for kids, and Buena Vista’s Coletrain Music Academy brought instruments to the Kids Zone, a tent to the right of the main stage loaded with arts and crafts and an unceasingly popular face-painting station, to introduce them to instruments like the ukelele and mandolin.

Next door was the Emmy’s Friends lemonade stand, which offered tea and lemonade seeking donations for the charity. With tables covered in frilled tablecloth and tea served in white porcelain cups, the lemonade stand had a bourgeois appearance, but it’s purpose was totally open-hearted.

Campout’s proceeds go to Emmy’s Friend, the charity originally created to help fund the medical treatments of Emery Welle.

When she was 5 months old, Emery – Emmy for short – was diagnosed with embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of childhood cancer.

In 2018, after years of medical treatments, doctors declared Emmy’s cancer “in remission,” and the focus of Emmy’s Friends has since broadened to helping families in the same situation, difficult both emotionally and financially.

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