Can there be anything more Canadian than camping? Getting out into the great outdoors and just knowing naturally how to get outside, setting up camp and enjoying the solitude just seems like a long thread in the fabric of our culture.
It’s a passtime many people grew up with. Families did it together and often the kids were enrolled in either Boy Scouts or Girl Guides where camping skills were part of the everyday curriculum. The enjoyment of the outdoors — and how you can survive comfortably in it — has been passed down, generation to generation.
That’s why it seems a little sad that National Parks staff have to teach people how to do it.
It’s a little sad, but not all that surprising. More and more people are filling Canadian cities and to a certain degree, going camping might not have the same appeal as it once had. It’s not necessarily an urban-versus-rural issue — either you enjoy camping, or you don’t.
Yet, only taking in nature from afar deprives a person of a closer connection with the outdoors and the opportunity to decompress and disconnect from the world for a short time. There can be nothing more rewarding to be out of cell range and left to your own skills and know-how to survive in the wild — even if that wild is a groomed provincial camp site that you can drive into.
It’s that disconnection from the world that can leave a body feeling nervous, vulnerable or simply cut off from their community. That distance can be enough to discourage some from taking the step into the great outdoors.
This is, however, not a bad thing. Unless they have the confidence and skill set to enjoy camping and hiking, individuals should not leave the security of their urban world. We don’t need rescue bills and missing campers on our hands.
It’s this confidence and skills Gulf Islands National Parks staff are hoping to impart during their Learn to Camp overnight program June 14 and 15.
It’s far better to accept that some people don’t have outdoor skills and need those lessons to improve their outlook when they decide the time is right to go camping. And for many Canadians, as soon as the weather turns nice, that time is right now.