University of Vermont

Cultivating Healthy Communities

Kick Off Summer with a Family Camping Weekend

Groton--Space is still available for the Becoming an Outdoor Family Weekend, a fun-filled event for families new to camping or veteran campers interested in learning new outdoor skills and activities.

University of Vermont (UVM) Extension and the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources' Departments of Fish and Wildlife and Forests, Parks and Recreation have teamed up to host the event, which will be held May 31–June 2 at Stillwater State Park in Groton. Deadline for registration is May 17.

"It is very important for kids, as well as adults, to develop a connection to the outdoors, and the activities offered during the weekend provide a fun avenue to make that connection," says Ed O'Leary, the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation Director of Operations. "The weekend is designed to give people an opportunity to simply have fun in the outdoors, meet new people and learn new skills that they can use for their entire lives."

Highlights include a Saturday night potluck supper, evening bonfire, bottle rocket making and launch and a paddleboard demonstration. Campers also may participate in three expert-led workshops.

Among the more than 40 options are sessions on nature photography; native wildlife and plants; shooting sports, including archery, muzzleloading and air pistol; recreational activities such as kayaking, geocaching and fishing; and outdoor survival skills including fire starting, herbal first aid, wild woodland edibles and outdoor wild game cooking. Workshops on leaf art and damselflies and dragonflies, a nature scavenger hunt and storytelling nature walk will be offered for younger campers.

Families will have full use of the park, located on Groton Lake in the 28,000-acre Groton State Forest, including its hiking trails, boat launch and other facilities. The park offers tent, lean-to and RV sites on a first-come, first-served basis.

The registration fee per family (up to eight people) is $175 and includes the campsite, workshops, use of most equipment, the Friday night ice cream social and potluck supper. Each family will need to provide their own camping gear and food along with a dish to share at the potluck, which will feature hot dogs, hamburgers and moose burgers.

Log onto for registration information, program details and workshop descriptions. To request a disability-related accommodation, contact Gail Makuch at (800) 278-5480 (toll-free in Vermont) by May 17.