Explore the great outdoors – for free

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – New York State’s First-Time Camper Weekends are back for the 2023 camping season.

The program gives families who have never camped before the opportunity to experience the great outdoors for free at a fully-stocked campground operated by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

“The goal is to kind of create a habit for these people,” said Jessica McBride, campground playground supervisor for the DEC. “It’s great to show them how to camp, but we want them to come back. So the equipment that we furnish them with for their stay, they are actually gifted that equipment, so that hopefully they can camp again in the future.”

More than 350 novice campers have been introduced to the hobby through this state program.