Learn How With an “I Can Camp” Workshop
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Learn How With an “I Can Camp” Workshop

[piano plays. bright in tone] Hi, I’m Ashley,
and we’re here to check out an “I Can Camp!” workshop
here at Jay Cooke State Park one of 73 Minnesota State Parks
and Recreation Areas. Let’s see what they’re up to. “I Can Camp!”
overnight workshops give people a chance
to try camping for a night with everything provided–
the tent, cooking gear,
and air mattresses. Bathrooms are nearby,
and there are campground roads
near the campsites. Instructors from
Conservation Corps Minnesota show the families
how to set up a tent. [fiddle, bass,
& drums play rhythmic bluegrass] Then the families try it, and the instructors
give them help if it’s needed. I’ve never set up a tent before. I’ve never gone camping before, or been out in the–
slept in a tent, ever. So this is the first time. So what they had us do is
just watch them set up a demo tent, and then we came over
to our site right away, so we could do it right away. And we set up our tent,
and it worked out pretty good. We had just trouble with
the last part, but there was someone to come and help us
figure out what we did wrong. So it worked out great! (Ashley) So once the temporary home
is set up, what comes next? After the families get
camp set up, they enjoy their packed lunches,
and we meet up around 1:00, and we do
a camper Q and A. We also do a kids activity,
which is either done with a Conservation Corps member
or our park naturalist staff. Then we give them recommendations
for free time. And like most parks,
Jay Cooke State Park has plenty of things to do. There’s geocaching–
it’s kind of like treasure hunting
with a GPS unit. There are hiking, fishing, biking,
and canoeing opportunities, as well as naturalist programs. And you can’t leave
Jay Cooke State Park without seeing
the swinging bridge. The workshops teach
all the basic camping skills, including fire building, fire safety,
and outdoor cooking. Instructors patiently walk participants
through the steps, and they’re available to help
any time during a workshop. (man) I think the biggest thing,
you know, that I learned was the cooking–
how to cook, what to cook. I think that’s the biggest thing
that I got out of this was just the confidence in knowing
that this is something that I could do.
that I could do again. The best part probably was
just being able to spend some quality time with my kids
in a beautiful setting. The Conservation Corps people
were fantastic, you know, young kids, very enthusiastic
about what they’re doing. But I had a great time. (Ashley) The day is almost done,
and the families will soon spend a night sleeping
in their tent. Tomorrow morning,
they’ll wake up, make breakfast,
and call themselves campers. Who knows? It might be the
start of a family tradition! Of course,
I don’t feel like it’s been successful trip
until I’ve had a treat. Need I say “s’more?”
Hope to see you out here soon! “I Can Camp!” workshops happen all summer. Just go online to register
for a workshop at your favorite state park
or recreation area.

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