A North Saanich campground continues to host a program that spreads the joy of camping as it sharpens the necessary skills.
Parks Canada says its Learn-to Camp Equipped program at SMONECTEN (McDonald) Campground in North Saanich is open to anyone who wants to learn more camping or brush up on existing knowledge.
The camp equips participants with a campsite and essential gear, as well as one-on-one physically distanced mentorship. Registration also grants access to online learning resources.
The program runs Fridays through Sundays until Aug. 22, having started June 25. Single-night (rather than two-night registration) remain available on Aug. 13 and 14.
Individuals can reserve by calling 1-844-365-2646 with lines open Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Aug. 20.
According to Parks Canada, 100,000 people participated in Learn-to-Camp programming between 2017-2019.
Broadly speaking, it connects first-time campers, including newcomers to Canada, with the Canadian camping experience, and introduce families to outdoor activities. According to Parks Canada, it also supports the development of an ethic of stewardship and appreciation for nature, and facilitates a connection with nature among visitors of all ages.
A recent run of research has shown that certain demographic groups including but not exclusively visible minorities face various economic and non-economic barriers to outdoor activities like camping.
They include among others the cost of gear and transportation as well as a lack of tradition and familiarity of camping among those groups but also a perception — previously not-so-subtlety enforced by advertisers — that outdoor activities remains the domain of non-visible minorities, with visible minorities reporting that they feel unwelcome when stepping out in nature.
This perception shot to public attention in 2018 when Canadian outdoor retailer Mountain Equipment Co-op had to publicly apologize for showing predominately white models in advertisements.
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