Do you want to go camping, but don’t feel ready? Arizona’s Family Campout Program, in partnership with AmeriCorps, is designed for families that have limited or no experience camping. If you want to go camping under the great AZ Stars, but are concerned about not having the right equipment or skills set, then this is the program for you. This program makes it possible for families to go camping that typically never would. “Had to tell you one more time what a great time we had last weekend at the Family Campout. Thanks again — keep up the good work and good luck with the rest of the program,” one parent said.
This program takes the guess work out of camping. All families are provided with a tent, sleeping mats, camp chairs, lanterns, flashlights, water, coffee, daily snacks and Dutch oven dessert/campfire treats. Families need to bring sleeping bags, clothes, good shoes and personal items (such as soap, towels, and shampoo), food for Saturday’s lunch and dinner, and Sunday’s breakfast and lunch. It is recommended to bring lunches that do not need to be cooked and that will be quick and easy to prepare. Meats should be pre-cooked and then sealed in a container. For dinner, the campout staff demonstrates how to use a propane stove. (More information on sample menu and shopping lists are on their website).
You will also learn the necessary skills to have success when you go camping on your own. You will gain more confidence and have fun learning from the guides as they walk you through step by step on how to set up your tent, how to start a campfire, and basics of safety and cooking. The staff does a great job of making everyone feel comfortable as well. “Thanks to all the staff for making this such an enjoyable weekend! Louie & Georgie were especially great, my grandkids loved them,” said one Grandparent who went camping at Lost Dutchman. It was their first camping experience and according to them, not the last. “We hope you do these family campouts again next year. Thanks again to everyone that worked hard to give us a great weekend!” Depending on where you camp, the weather and age requirements of the activity, there are numerous activities you can participate in. Your adventure could entail mountain biking, archery, guided hikes, fishing, live animal demonstrations, stories around the campfire, geology astronomy, and bird watching. This experience will be enough to give you the confidence to head out on your own next time.
To register or for more information visit: http://azstateparks.com/family. The cost for a family of 4 is $90 and each additional family member is $5 each. Keep in mind that pets and children 5 years or younger are not allowed to participate in the program.