With cool weather around the corner, the Texas Outdoor Family program has scheduled outdoor recreational workshops statewide though the beginning of December. The workshops offer a low-cost weekend trip where families can un-plug, reconnect with nature, and learn the basics of camping.
“The Texas Outdoor Family Program has exponentially grown in popularity since it began six years ago,” says Robert Owen, Texas Outdoor Family Program Coordinator for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “Unfortunately, it seems that nowadays kids are more likely to play video games than ride a bike or play outside. We aim to change that and are proud to offer the first step to helping families get outdoors and reconnect with nature by enjoying their state parks.”
Workshops coming up this month can be found at Garner State Park, Lake Mineral Wells State Parkand Trailway, Franklin Mountains State Park, Galveston Island State Park, Brazos Bend State Park and Guadalupe River State Park, just to name a few.
The program provides families with all of the camping and recreational supplies that would be needed, so you can test drive camping without making the investment of buying equipment. The only thing families need to bring are food and bedding for the weekend.
During the overnight workshops, a ranger not only teaches families the basic skills of pitching a tent and cooking outdoors, but also how to enjoy state parks through activities like kayaking, fishing, and geocaching – an outdoor treasure hunt using GPS devices. Participants also learn how to protect their state parks through good stewardship and “Leave No Trace” principles.
All program participants can look forward to new equipment, including durable REI tents and cots. The program is also gradually moving their entire fleet of stoves to propane, making camping basics easier than ever.
The cost of workshops starts at $65 per family (up to six people), and includes camping fees, instruction from rangers, equipment rentals, and all gear except food and bedding. Families with no experience can show up with a few recommended household items and the rest of the weekend will be coordinated by program staff.