Parents line up for gently used deals

The Canyon Crest Academy parking lot became stroller city this weekend as loads of parents descended upon the Parent Connection swap meet. The Parent Connection, an organization for parents and children sponsored by Scripps, holds swap meets twice a year and for the last few years they’ve been held at Canyon Crest.

Anything a parent could imagine needing was up for grabs on Sunday morning: cribs, clothing, maternity gear, toys, books, playhouses, baby gyms, even children’s toilet seats.
About 1,280 people showed up to look for finds from 200 vendors.

“It’s more people than I’ve ever seen before,” said Jennifer Morse, Parent Connection volunteer.

Morse said cars were lined up before 9 a.m. for the chance to get first crack at all the great deals.

“This year is probably the best one we’ve had,” said Pam Nagata, Parent Connection coordinator. ” I kind of expected it because of the economy. A lot of families are looking for ways to save money.”

Carmel Valley mom Martha Sottosanti and her friend Stevie Lucas were at their second swap meet. The first time they came unprepared and were a little overwhelmed.

“Last time, I didn’t know what to expect, I didn’t even know if I was having a boy or a girl,” Lucas said.

“We’re a little more targeted this time,” Sottosanti said, noting they were on a quest to find a baby swing.

The two friends stood off to the side, strollers parked, looking out over the wide landscape of tents and making a plan of attack.

Several different organizations also had tents at the swap meet, such as a safety group doing car seat demonstrations, a baby sign language group and Success by Health, a company that promotes green parenting techniques.

It cost $2 to get into the swap meet meaning about $2,560 went directly toward the Parent Connection’s community resource fund. The fund, started after the 2003 Cedar Fires, helps local families in need. Part of Sunday’s proceeds also went to the Madison Fund, which helps parents who have lost a child.

Carmel Valley connection
Not surprisingly, the family-friendly community of Carmel Valley is one of Parent Connections’ biggest supporters.

“Carmel Valley is one of the largest areas that we have for membership,” Nagata said, saying that the community comes in behind Carlsbad and Encinitas.

The organization has about 260 neighborhood play groups all over the city and Carmel Valley has 22, mostly designated by age of the children.

Carmel Valley is also home to some specialty play groups: One for working moms that meets after 5 p.m., one for just dads, and one that tailors to Chinese-Mandarin speaking families.

Across San Diego, the Parent Connection has playgroups that cater to a lot of foreign language speakers (Russian, Italian and Portuguese to name a few) as well as some for grandparents, for deaf children, for single parents and one for moms who like hiking.

Parent Connection member Sottosanti is a playgroup member and really likes the calendar of kid-friendly events the connection comes up with.

Being a busy mom, Sottosanti said it’s good to know when there’s something she and her family can participate in.

In addition to play groups, there are seminars on parenting, child behavior, basic training for dads to be, even one on “terrible two ” survival tactics. There are new parent socials, the very popular Scrapbook Marathon and their new website,, offers ways to get discounts for destinations like Disneyland and Legoland.

One fun upcoming event is their Halloween costume swap on Oct. 5, a great way for parents to exchange those costumes that usually are only good for one wear. The swap will be held at the Scripps Mende Well Being center in UTC from 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Participation in the swap is $8 and the funds go toward the Monarch School.

To find out more about joining the Parent Connection, go to or call (858) 626-6944.

Related posts:

  1. Parents get the lowdown at back to school night
  2. Beloved piano teacher touched many young lives
  3. Races inspire Monday food deals, Restaurant Appreciation Day
  4. Optimists bring hope to children with cancer
  5. St. Therese embraced by community of worshippers

Short URL:

Posted by ziggycute1 on Oct 2, 2008. Filed under Archives. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply



Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6






  • Rancho Santa Fe Library to present Alzheimer’s series
    Taking aim at Alzheimer’s, the county Board of Supervisors in May launched the Alzheimer’s Project, an effort to create a regional strategy to improve caregiver resources and to support research efforts to find better treatments and ultimately, a cure for the disease. […]
  • Rancho Santa Fe Invasive Plants and Better Alternatives
    By Steve Jacobs, Nature Designs In California we are lucky to live in a mild climate that allows us to grow amazing landscapes. Because of this mild climate, plants from other parts of the world often thrive; and some grow so well they become known as invasive. These plants ‘jump fences’ and ‘throw seeds.’ Their […]
  • Rancho Santa Fe School District’s robotics program receives new funding
    The Rancho Santa Fe School District is making its school’s robotics program more robust this year, allocating $42,500 in stipends to staff coaches just like the district does for its athletics program. “I think the program has taken a big step,” said Superintendent Lindy Delaney. “I think we’re on our way toward developing a great program there.” John Galipa […]