GROTON – For those interested in reconnecting with nature, sampling recreational and water sports or learning a new outdoor skill, Outdoor Family Weekend (OFW), now in its 24th year, will take place September 9 through September 11, at Stillwater State Park. The weekend features expert-led workshops; swimming, boating and other recreation; nightly entertainment and campfires.
Registrations will be accepted through August 19 at go.uvm.edu/outdoor-family. Early registration is advised as tent, lean-to and RV sites, as well as workshops, are filled on a first-come, first-served basis.
The cost is $175 per family (up to eight individuals) and covers the campsite, choice of three workshops per camper, the Friday night ice cream social and evening activities. Campers are welcome to stay Sunday night for no extra charge by notifying the park office upon arrival.
Families of current military personnel should contact Lisa Flinn at (802) 751-8307, ext. 351, or (800) 545-8920 (toll-free in Vermont) to receive a discount code for registration. Anyone requiring a disability-related accommodation to participate should call by August 19.
OFW alumnus and woodsman Nate Gusakov of Lincoln will entertain the group on Friday evening with original songs and traditional banjo tunes. On Saturday, campers are invited to a Nidba N’adalia (Friends Gathering) led by Brenda Perretta-Gagne and Virginia Holiman, who will share indigenous tales and celebrations under the harvest moon. Perretta-Gagne is a member of the St. Francis/Sokoki Tribe of the Abenaki Nation of Missisquoi. Holiman is a farm-to-school educator and storyteller from Highgate.
Workshops cater to a diverse range of interests including outdoor cooking, shooting sports, nature crafts and painting, introductory mountain biking, careers in arboriculture, fire starting for wilderness preparedness and tree identification, among others. Wildlife lovers can participate in a bird walk, learn about whitetail deer or hone their skills at identifying common songs, signs and tracks of birds and animals.
Among the new offerings this year are classes on indigenous crafts, wild plant medicine, finding art in nature, geocaching and exploration of stream and aquatic habitats. The youngest campers can learn about bears or feathered friends in the forest, go canoe fishing with a parent or explore math with nature. A story walk, available all weekend, introduces many woodland creatures through the book, “Over in the Meadow.”
Throughout their stay, campers have full access to all park amenities including the trails, lake, boat launch and free canoe rentals. Fishing licenses may be purchased at the park although kids 14 and under may fish for free.
OFW is offered by University of Vermont Extension and the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources’ Departments of Fish and Wildlife, and Forests, Parks and Recreation. If questions, contact Allison Smith at email@example.com.