I Can Camp! 2010
The I Can Camp! program provides people new to the outdoors with a safe and comfortable way to learn the basics of tent camping, through first-hand experience, providing all equipment and instruction, combined with conservation education and hands-on outdoor recreational skills activities. The DNR offered and conducted four, one-overnight workshops each week for a 10-week period from mid-June through the third week in August, 2010.
After some 50 years of growth, nature-based recreation turned a corner in the 1990s and is now declining on a per-capita basis in Minnesota and nationally. Per-capita visits to state and national parks, use of state trails, hunting, fishing, boating, wildlife watching, and wilderness use are all down. The primary contributing trend is a drop in participation by young adults (ages 20 to 40) and their children. This can be attributed to many parents today did not have opportunities to camp when they were growing up and have fears about safety, dangerous animals, hygiene, and other issues. They would like to provide the experience for their kids, but are not comfortable with trying it on their own. In order to help overcome declining trends in outdoor recreation and connect more people with outdoor learning, camping skills workshops have been shown to help parents overcome their fears and become more comfortable recreating in the outdoors on their own.
Our goal was to plan and host 38 overnight workshops to teach camping skills and provide equipment to new campers at a reasonable rate of $55 per family.
In the first full season of "I Can Camp!" hosted 30 workshops 78% of initial goal. Due to inclement weather throughout the summer 8 workshops had to be canceled. The 30 workshops that were held provided nearly 600 people with hands on learning and educational fun.