Discover the outdoors at Family Camping Weekend

A-2-CAMP-Outdoor-Family-Weekend-1-SCOutdoor Family Weekend, May 29-31, offers campers a chance to learn basic outdoor skills, sample various recreational activities, and spend time together as a family.

The annual event, which will be held at Stillwater State Park in Groton, is organized by University of Vermont (UVM) Extension and the Vermont Departments of Fish and Wildlife and Forests, Parks, and Recreation. Although tailored to families new to camping or exploring the outdoors, veteran campers are welcome to participate.

Throughout the weekend, experts will teach workshops on everything from native wildlife and plants, orienteering and geocaching to outdoor wild game cooking, shooting sports, kayaking and mountain biking. New offerings this year include sessions on backyard forestry, basic knot tying, Vermont’s furbearing animals, backcountry first aid and wilderness survival for families with young children, among others.

The $189 fee per family (up to eight people) includes three workshops per person along with the campsite, Friday night ice cream social and Saturday night potluck supper. Other activities include a raffle, evening bonfire, and bottle rocket-making station and launch.

Campers will have plenty of free time to enjoy all that the park, located on Groton Lake in the 28,000-acre Groton State Forest, has to offer including swimming, boating, bird watching, and hiking. Canoes and kayaks will be available for free rental.

The deadline for registration is May 15. Registration information and other details may be found at www.uvm.edu/extension/outdoorfamily. Due to the event’s popularity, early registration is recommended. To request a disability-related accommodation to participate, please contact Gail Makuch at (802) 257-7967, ext. 301 or (800) 278-5480 (toll-free in Vermont) by April 30.

Assignment of campsites will be on a first-come, first-served basis with requests for sites adjacent to extended family or friends accommodated whenever possible. Tent, lean-to, and RV sites are available.
Families interested in extending their stay may camp for no charge on Sunday night. Arrangements should be made at the park office upon arrival.

Past attendees who refer a new family will be entered in a drawing for a free weekend stay at any Vermont state park, courtesy of the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation. Check the Becoming an Outdoor Family Weekend web site for details.

Questions about the weekend? Contact Debbie Fajans, UVM Extension 4-H Youth and Family Program coordinator, at (802) 257-7967, ext. 306, or (800) 278-5480 (toll-free in VT) or by e-mail at debbie.fajans@uvm.edu.