PROVINCETOWN — Dunes’ Edge campground is one of three campgrounds receiving $25, 000 in camping gear this summer for youth who don’t have access to high-quality outdoor spaces.
The Trustees of Reservations , the nation’s first land conservation nonprofit, is partnering with NEMO Equipment, a New Hampshire-based outdoor gear company, to provide the gear and experience.
Along with Dunes’ Edge in Provincetown, Rocky Woods campground in Medfield and Tully Lake campground in Royalston are receiving gear. The three campgrounds are all properties owned by The Trustees.
The initiative aims to expand access to overnight camping and outdoor experiences for Boston-area youth, for some of whom camping is not reasonable because of the cost of gear. This is the second year Trustees has made more of a “concerted effort to reach out to under-resourced youth, ” Trustees Director of Outdoor Experience Jen Klein said.
Helping city kids discover camping
The organization wants to “allow youth from the town opportunities to experience what camping is like, and then allow them an opportunity to see parts of the states that they may not otherwise get to because of access, ” Klein said.
The Boston-based Trustees of Reservations was founded in 1890 by landscape architect Charles Eliot. It now manages 123 locations, or reservations, in Massachusetts that encompass more 27, 000 acres.
The reservations attract more than 2 million visitors annually and hosts 5, 000 programs with more than 250, 000 participants, according to the nonprofit’s website .
Regarding the Provincetown site, Klein said few youth from metropolitan Boston get to visit the Cape all that often , even though it’s just a ferry ride away.
The particular Trustees has been working with Big City Mountaineers , an organization that provides outside camping and recreational experiences for youth from under-resourced communities. In partnering with the nonprofit, and receiving grant funding from REI, the Trustees has been able to fund transportation costs for youth to take the ferry from Birkenstock boston to Provincetown. From the ferry landing to the Dunes’ Edge campground is only about a half-mile walk, Klein said.
Making trips to outdoors more accessible
Klein said the goal is to make sure trip isn’t an one-time experience for the kids.
“We’re able to give them vouchers to come back with their friends and their families so that it doesn’t just become an one-off thing that they did, ” she said.
The organization finds youth to take part in this initiative a few different ways. Organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club contact the organization directly. The Trustees reaches out to specific organizations like YES Boston and networking always plays a role in finding new youth organizations or schools which want to get their kids outdoors and in nature.
“What the (COVID-19) pandemic really shined a light on is the discrepancy between access for those that have the means and those that don’t, ” Klein stated. “And so as an organization, and for me, personally, I think I’ve made that my mission and we’ve made it our mission as an organization to really do all that we can to flip that narrative and to say that the outdoors is indeed for everybody. ”