Some of us are born with a love of the outdoors and we spend every chance we can camping, fishing and just being one with Mother Nature. For others, that love of the great outdoors may be there but the opportunities to connect with nature are few and far between. There may be a few folks out there who still aren’t sure if they love the great outdoors or not; the verdict is still out. If you fall into the latter categories, New York State is prepared to do something about it and help you make your decision once and for all.
Starting this month, the lottery is open for a spot in New York State’s second annual “First Time Camper Program.” The state’s Department of Environmental Conservation and New York State Parks sponsor the program, and it’s the perfect opportunity for folks who haven’t spent much time camping to give it a shot without making any sizeable investments.
Participants began registering on May tenth and the lottery was open for 3 days. A drawing was held and 65 lucky families were picked to participate in the experience. Thirty of those families will be heading to a Department of Environmental Conservation campground and the rest will be heading to New York State Parks to camp. The prize includes a weekend of camping and all the gear needed, so families won’t need to buy a single piece of gear.
The idea is to allow the families a chance to camp without all of the stress that can accompany setting up a campsite and making sure you have all of the necessary supplies. By providing everything needed, the program allows families to focus on having fun, engaging in outdoor activities and developing an appreciation for nature.
Programs like this seem to be working. The 2017 North American Camping Report indicates that more and more people are going camping each year. In fact, since 2014, almost 3.5 million NEW campers have taken to the outdoors!
Hats off to New York and this creative program to get folks outside. It shows that just because you’ve never tried something it doesn’t mean it’s unachievable and you can’t find a great new way to have fun!