News Channel 13 is reporting that a successful pilot program from last year, to help encourage and assist first time campers, is being continued this year.  According to News Channel 13, The New York DEC and the Office of Parks and Recreation are providing gear for 65 first time campers this year.  The gear provided is a whole slew of stuff, including a six-person tent, sleeping bags, chairs, and more.  You can get more information on how to apply to be on of the 65 families chosen at the official DEC website.  You’ve only got through the beginning of May so if you want to apply, act fast!

I for one think this is an amazing program.  I grew up spending my summers camping in Greene County and in the Adirondacks.  While I always did the rough-and-tumble camping (yes- my dad used to make me start a campfire with only one match, and camp out through torrential rainstorms), camping doesn’t have to always be so aggressive.  It’s just fun to be in nature.  It’s a healthy and fun way to enjoy what New York has to offer, enjoy some family time, and let yourself relax.  But the gear can be expensive!  Especially if you’re not sure if you even like it or not.  So I’m happy to see a program like this helping to encourage more people enjoy the New York outdoors.  What are your thoughts?