I went on my first camping trip when I was in my twenties. At the time, I saw campers as a group of skilled adventurers. Nomads, who could sniff the air and taste the dirt and know a storm was brewing, to the east. I wanted to join the camping ranks, but I didn’t have a clue what I was doing.
My husband was little help. He’d spent a total of one night in a tent, during an eighth grade fieldtrip. That modicum of experience didn’t qualify him as an expert.
We bought a tent, rented a campsite and flew by the seat of our pants. That first trip wasn’t a raging success. Our second attempt was a little better and we persevered, time and time again, until we had unravelled the mysteries of camping and ultimately, knew what we were doing.
Think of the hassle we could have been spared, if we’d had the benefit of expert advice right from the start. Beginning this season, novice campers can arrange just that. This is the inaugural year for Ontario Park’s Learn to Camp program.
There are two ways to take advantage of the program:
- The first is through a series of community sessions. These are free talks, geared to inform new campers on the ins and outs of “roughing it”.
- The second is a series of overnight sessions, at a cost of $46. The overnight sessions give novices a guided, firsthand experience at camping. The park provides almost all the necessary equipment along with an experienced Ontario Parks employee to teach, advise and act as a safety net for nervous first timers.
Both community and overnight sessions are offered within easy distance of Toronto and the GTA.
This is hopefully, the beginning of a trend in the camping world. Earlier this season, Parks Canada held a National Urban Learn-to-Camp Event and July 16th, they are set to host the Great Canadian Backyard Campout, at the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site.
If the idea of camping is intimidating, and I don’t blame you if it is, seek out and take advantage of a Learn-To-Camp event. It may open up a whole new field of interest for you. – Jen R, Staff Writer