Do you remember the first camping experience you ever had? Snuggled warmly in your sleeping bag, falling asleep in a tent with your friends or family, or taking a dip in a warm lake before drying off beside a toasty campfire.
Back in May, Canucks Autism Network, Power To Be, and the Inter-cultural Association of Greater Victoria worked in collaboration with Parks Canada Learn-to Camp and BC Parks Foundation in order to equip onboarding employees with the tools needed to create a more welcoming environment in outdoor programs.
On August 6 – 7, all these organizations came together to lead a Learn to Camp event at Porteau Cove Provincial Park. We hosted 10 families with children on the spectrum to come learn more about how to camp! This was the second time we collaborated on a Learn to Camp event – the first was in 2019 at Cypress Provincial Park.
Participants learned how to set up their own tent and keep a BARE campsite. They also rotated through sessions that focused on: trip planning and logistics, Leave No Trace principles, camping gear, and how to be safe around wildlife.
According to the participants, some highlights from the weekend include:
- Meeting other kids and families
- Exploring the different types of tents, sleeping bags, and pillows
- Learning how to be safe around bears (and how even toiletries are a bear attractant)
- Having the logistics handled, so it was easy to try camping for the first time
- Making (and eating) s’mores
It is important that everyone can experience what B.C.’s parks have to offer. BC Parks wants everyone to feel welcome, knowledgeable, and safe in our parks. We recognize barriers exist to getting outside and camping in our parks, and we are committed to making parks more inclusive for all. Amazing memories were made during the Learn to Camp weekend and more memories will be created when they go camping again!