family and staff outside of tent

Saying farewell to summer with Learn to Camp

With the end of summer approaching, our Learn to Camp – Book an Ambassador program is winding down for the season.

Whether you learned how to build campfires, became familiar with Ontario’s wildlife, or participated in another one of our educational programs, our ambassadors hope to see you in our park next summer mastering your newly-learned skills!

Reaching campers in a new way

This season, we offered a new webinar series offered through our Learn to Camp website in collaboration with Toronto Public Library.

We reached a large audience of park visitors that had a wide range of camping skills!

staff helping camper

Participants learned lots of important information about Ontario Parks and camping. We answered lots of questions from our participants and helped ease their camping jitters before their big trip!

Thanks to Toronto Public Library for hosting two of these online webinars.

This summer we teamed up with Subaru and had multiple demonstration days at Sibbald Point Provincial Park to display the Subaru Wilderness Forester!

Visitors got to check out the car and see how it fit into their camping experience.

parks logo on back of truck

With help from our friends at Parkbus, park ambassadors welcomed both Ukrainian refugee children and a Pride group to our parks!

These groups enjoyed a day outdoors hiking and out on the water.

Keeping up with the park ambassadors

Starting this year, we added seven new parks offering our Book an Ambassador program!

Our park ambassadors welcome visitors to their parks, help campers gain new skills, and support campers no matter their experience level!

All 18 of our ambassadors worked extremely hard this season teaching new and experienced campers important skills.

We asked our ambassadors to share some of their favourite moments from this season. Here’s what they had to say:

Stephanie Voyageur Provincial Park

staff building campfire

“My first Book an Ambassador group session was on how to build the perfect campfire.

Campfires are my favorite part of camping, and I was thrilled to get my superintendent’s approval on lighting an actual fire for my session.

All participants were extremely friendly and eager to participate. Seeing children’s faces light up with pride when they gave an answer was my most memorable moment.

Along with getting to spend time with our campers, talking about our shared interest, and cooking s’mores with them, which always puts a smile on everyone’s face.”

Emilee –  Presqu’ile Provincial Park

staff making fire

“This August, I was holding a booked one-to-one session, as well as a drop-in session here at Presqu’ile.

The programs both had children attend who were from separate groups of campers. The programs were a couple days apart from each other, but at each I had kids asking about elephants in the park.

All summer I had never been asked about elephants, likely as it is not something located anywhere close to this area, but then suddenly multiple children started asking about them!

It was very random, but also adorable and slightly comedic.”

Megan  Earl Rowe Provincial Park

staff standing outside of park sign

“This summer I got the opportunity to meet so many new people and help some new campers develop their love for the outdoors.

One of the most memorable moments that I had during this season was with a couple that was attending a workshop. This was their second time camping, and first time at Earl Rowe.

They were so excited to learn more about cooking while camping, specifically about cooking over the fire. I loved being able to share some of my favourite campfire recipes and helping them learn some different techniques for building a fire.

Thank you to everyone who attended one of my workshops or drop-in sessions! You all made this season a memorable one!”

Ethan – Darlington Provincial Park

staff in front of canopy

“One of my most memorable moments was when I ran my first Learn To Camp program: a group session on “How To Build The Perfect Campfire.”

There were three little kids in the group that asked questions all the way through the session – they were fascinated by the whole thing.

At the end of the session these little kids were so excited by the new knowledge that they acquired, saying “we need to go tell our parents to get some firewood so we can make our campfire!”

This was a magical experience. Now I had just provided these families — kids, and adults alike — with the skills and motivation required to make memories for themselves.”

Harrison  Killarney Provincial Park

staff in front of sign

“My favourite Learn to Camp experience happened during a “How to Build the Perfect Camp Fire” group session.

We set up an interactive component where campers had to separate the wood, kindling, and tinder from a woodpile. As we progressed, it was a joy to see the kids taking the lead creating the log cabin for the base structure of the fire.

To top the session off, we had a couple who were experienced campers come up to us and mention how they never knew about the log cabin technique.

This just goes to show that no matter how old you are ,or how many times you have been camping, you can always learn something new!”

Sophie — Killarney Provincial Park

staff standing in front of beach

“My favorite memory from Learn to Camp this summer would be one time where I ran the “How to build the perfect campfire” Book an Ambassador session.

It was with a family with a couple of kids, and the kids were able to build the fire for the first time.

It was fun and rewarding to help a new generation of campers learn this skill and to see their pride at being able to make a campfire by themselves.

It was also great getting to meet this family, exchange camping stories, and to then see them at other programs throughout the week.”

Tom — Sibbald Point Provincial Park

A staff person helping a camper load their car

“One of the first session we held, we had a family book the how to set up your site group session.

They had never camped and borrowed their friend’s tent to try it out. Because our tent was so different from theirs, they instead just asked for tips and other information about camping.

We stopped by their site later to see how they were doing and ended up helping them set up their tent. They had such a good experience they ended up staying an extra night.”

Kylee — Sibbald Point Provincial Park

staff holding backpack

“One of my most memorable moments from this season is when a mom and daughter had signed up for a “How to set up your campsite” session.

They came to the session ready to learn and were very engaged during the session! They each took turns putting together the tent poles and getting the tent up.

The best part? They were back in the park a week after and came to talk to us!

They let us know how setting up the tent went and that they have booked more camping trips in the future!”

Kristina — Turkey Point Provincial Park

Staff at table

“My favourite memory was one of my campsite drop-ins that was about cooking while camping.

I had a group of around 20 come to the program. We had fun going over the different equipment on the table used for cooking and completing some matching games on cooking equipment.

After that we got on to the best part of the program: making s’mores!

Many of the kids had a great time making their s’mores, and when asked what they remembered from the program, they were able to answer about fire safety and cooking as well as share some stories of their own camping experiences.”

See you next year, campers!

Our Learn to Camp team will be back next season, ready to teach new and experienced campers skills and make even more lasting memories!

Stay tuned in early 2023 for updates on our program.

These exciting stories and memories of Learn to Camp would not be possible without the help of our sponsors.

Thank you to Coleman Canada, Qwick Wick Fire Starter, and Subaru Canada for your ongoing support for our program!