Groton—The annual Becoming an Outdoor Family Weekend, now in its 21st year, provides a fun opportunity for families to experience the great outdoors and learn new skills from wilderness first aid to tree identification and canoe camping basics.

It will be held June 1-3 at Stillwater State Park in Groton. In addition to workshops, families may take advantage of recreational pursuits such as hiking, swimming, fishing and boating. The weekend also includes an ice cream social, a night hike to search for wildlife and a potluck supper.

The cost is $189 per family (up to eight people), which covers the campsite, workshop instruction and use of the park’s canoes. Families are welcome to stay Sunday night for no charge by notifying the park office upon arrival.

Although registrations will be accepted at until May 10, early registration is advised as campsites will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis and space is limited in some of the workshops. Every effort will be made to accommodate families that request adjoining RV, tent or lean-to sites.

A discount is available for families of current military personnel. Contact Becky Bartlett at (802) 257-7967, ext. 301, or (800) 278-5480 (toll-free in Vermont) to receive a discount code for registration. To request a disability-related accommodation to participate, call her by May 10.

Each camper may sign up for three workshops with each session offering more than a dozen different choices, including some geared to younger children. Options include outdoor cooking, aquatic species, introduction to archery, firearm safety, outdoor yoga, enchanted fairy houses, forest ecosystems, navigation by map and compass, rocks and minerals and tracks, signs and songs, among other topics.

Returning families who get a new family to register for the weekend will be entered in the Refer-a-Family drawing. The winner, drawn at the Saturday night potluck, will receive a free weekend stay at the Vermont state park of their choice, courtesy of the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation.   

Organizers for the weekend are University of Vermont Extension and the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources' Departments of Fish and Wildlife and Forests, Parks and Recreation. If questions, contact Debbie Fajans at (802) 257-7967, ext. 306, or (800) 278-5480 (toll-free in Vermont). Or follow this event on Facebook at


Deborah L. Fajans