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  • Writer's pictureFriends of West University Parks

Fathers & Flashlights 17th Annual Community Event Celebrates Memorable Campout under the stars!

November 20, 2023

CONTACT: Kimberly Eads, Public Relations, cell – 832-287-5232, kimmyeads@gmail.com; Donna LaMond, Friends Executive Director, office – 713-662-7430, dlamond@westutx.gov; Sami Morrison, Friends Chair, cell 312-203-0405, sami.morrison@gmail.com




West University Place – November 10, 2023 – The 2023 annual Fathers & Flashlights urban campout was held on Saturday, November 4 and Sunday, November 5 on the fields surrounding West University Elementary School. 525 children and 250 parents camped while over 240 volunteer parents worked behind the scenes to make this cherished neighborhood event possible.


The chairs of this beloved annual fundraiser shared, “What a perfect fall night we had for the 17th Annual Fathers & Flashlights. We had a record number of registered children (525!) and a delightfully smooth campout weekend thanks to our dedicated committee members, all the parent volunteers who did their part, enthusiastic camping parents, hardworking Ci


ty of West U staff, and generous sponsors. We loved seeing West U come together again in celebration of family time, community, and our beautiful parks and green spaces. We'll see you again next year!" – Kelly Beth Hapgood, Megan Nicodemus, and Katy Turner


Friends of West U Parks would like to extend a special thanks to the 2023 Fathers & Flashlights co-chairs, the Hapgood, Nicodemus, and Turner families, for planning and organizing another incredibly successful campout and fundraiser. The event raised $182,000 for West U parks. After a rainy and frigid beginning to the week, the clouds parted for idyllic weather to be enjoyed by all participants. Tents were pitched (some with assistance from our local sponsor, Goodsmith Homecare and Repair) and a wide range of activities began at 3:00 pm. There was no shortage of joy and infectious laughter as the children immersed themselves in crafts, rides, exotic animal visits, face painting, catch-and-release fishing, a t-shirt tie dye station, inflatables, sno cones, DJ dancing, a magic show, and much more!


None of the unforgettable memories made would have been possible without our generous underwriters and sponsors. A special thanks to our returning “Camp Founder” and title sponsor of the event, Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital. We’re very grateful to our other top donors: Gibson Dunn (“Camp Boss” sponsor), West U Smiles Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics and Kirkland & Ellis (“Camp Counselor” sponsors), as well as Greater Houston Orthodontics, Elizabeth Borski with Old Republic Title & Maggie Garza with Compass Real Estate, Russo Home Renovation, and Texas Children’s Hospital (“Trailblazer” sponsors).


Dinner was a mouth-watering feast with a plethora of options from The Pit Room, La Fresca Pizza, Chick-fil-A Medical Center, and more. Neighborhood hot spot Tiny’s Milk & Cookies provided their popular chocolate chip cookies as dessert for everyone while “Super Mario Bros” was enjoyed on the big screen. Breakfast on the following Sunday morning was a tasty, comforting array of Ship Channel Trading Coffee cold brew, hot cocoa from Hungry’s, coffee from Starbucks, donuts from River Oaks Donuts, kolaches from the Kolache Shoppe, and breakfast tacos from Adair Concepts.


Thank you to ALL of the underwriters, sponsors, and in- kind donors, plus the many volunteers and staff who make this event possible each year. Our wonderful 2023 contributors included: Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, Gibson Dunn, West U Smiles Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, Kirkland & Ellis, Greater Houston Orthodontics, Texas Children’s Hospital, Russo Home Renovations, Maggie Garza/Compass Real Estate, Elizabeth Borski/Old Republic Title, Heidi Dugan/Greenwood King, Texas Prime Insurance, Butler-Cohen/Kelly and Sean Butler, Dot’s Place Direct Pediatrics/Marion E. Warner, MD, Mary Frances A. DuMay/Compass Real Estate, Neurosurgical Group of Texas, The Goodman Family, Laura Meyer/Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty, iKids Inc, Empire Behavioral Health, Houston Colon, Kristine Martinez, Realtor/Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty, The Androphy Family, The Kuhl Family, The Morrison Family, The Solera Family, The Vetterling Family, Reliant Energy, Cammarata, Shisler & Taylor Pediatric Dentistry Group, Frost Bank, Rice Emergency Room, Avenu Fitness, Mathnasium of West University, The Rice Organization, Inc., Studio 3 – The Salon, The Rhett Ross Group/Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty, Rachael and John Montgomery, Sarah and Scott Barrett, The Droubi Family, Abigail/Eric/Avery/Aidan Berkman Family, Deirdre and Francis Carr, Lauren and Bobby Hunt, Stephanie and Andrew Morrison, Lafayette Street Friends, Goodsmith Home Care & Repair, Chick-Fil-A Holcombe, Hungry’s, Tiny’s No. 5/Tiny’s Milk & Cookies, SCT Coffee, Adair Concepts, Lauren DeFrehn Photography, River Oaks Donuts, and Zero Waste Houston.


For a complete listing of Fathers & Flashlights underwriters, sponsors, and in-kind donors, please visit westuparks.org. We are grateful to the West U Parks and Recreation Department for their tremendous support. Thank you also to our event photographer, Lauren DeFrehn Photography. Photographs from the event can be found at the following webpage: Fathers & Flashlights 2023 by Lauren DeFrehn Photography (pixieset.com)

Fathers & Flashlights -- along with the Park Lovers’ Ball, coming up on February 10, 2024, at the Post Oak Hotel -- are the largest Friends fundraising events. There are also other opportunities for involvement and ways to provide support. Friends fundraising continues year around with business and community partnerships, memorials and honorariums, pavers, benches, and tree sales.


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The Friends of West University Parks Fund is a volunteer based 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to raising funds for the renovation, development and improvement of parks and green spaces in the neighborhood parks of the City of West University Place. The board is appointed by City Council and raises money through foundation grants, citizens’ bequests, memorials, special events and various other programs and events including partnerships with local businesses.


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