As you read this article, the Hoboken Family Alliance’s (HFA) annual Cabin Fever party, an indoor carnival for children and opportunity for parents to explore options for their tots’ summer activities, may already be underway. The event is set to kick off at 10 a.m. Saturday in the gymnasium at Brandt Elementary School, 215 Ninth St., and costs $20 per family (HFA members attend for free).
The event, which will last until 2 p.m., began twelve years ago, and is the second-largest of HFA’s three annual events, the other two being the spring fling in April and the All Schools Open House in the fall. The event began as a simple way to bring children together during the lonely winter months, but also as a tool for parents to find local programs that they could sign their child up for in the summer.
“Originally, we brought together a bunch of families and would have local business owners who offered activities for children come to play with them,” said Shana Lee, the group’s director of marketing and advertising. “The hope was that the kids would have a fun day out and that parents would sign them up for some of the classes that were demonstrated.”
“Their goal is to engage the kids while [camps] can talk to parents.” – Shana Lee
“Their goal is to engage the kids while they talk to parents,” said Lee. “It’s similar to our open house in that each camp or activity has a booth, but different in that it’s a carnival as well as a chance to check out summer opportunities.”
City boy or country girl?
Because of Hoboken’s urban landscape, Lee said that quite often parents seek an opportunity to send their kids out of the city for the summer, or at least for a week or so.
“I know that as a parent it was important that my kids got out of Hoboken during the summer,” she said. “I didn’t want to have them at a city camp, I wanted them to be swimming every day, sitting under trees in the country.”
Many other parents prefer to keep their children close to home during the summer, but Lee said that those circumstances preclude a child from enjoying themselves.
“There are lots of opportunities in the city as well, from exercise and fitness classes, to dance, to the arts,” she said. “It’s important to look at all the options.”
Because it’s HFA’s largest event of the year, Cabin Fever is inherently the group’s best chance to sign people up as annual members. There’s an incentive for parents as well – admission to Cabin Fever is $20, and will count toward the overall annual membership fee, which is $40.
Since its inception, HFA has grown to not only include activities for children but for parents as well. The group does a clothing swap (kids outgrow perfectly good clothing quickly), holds an annual gala, and gives three $2,000 scholarships to college-bound Hoboken students each year.
The group also donates to community causes in times of need. After Hoboken Charter School’s fire last year, HFA made a hefty donation, and in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, HFA contributed almost $5,000 to area schools damaged by the storm. On Saturday, HFA is set to award over $10,000 in Community Neighbor Award Grants.
For more information on the Hoboken Family Alliance, visit hobokenfamily.com.
Dean DeChiaro may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org