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Making Summer Memories

Making Summer Memories

Make Summer Memories With Ontario Parks

Camping and fishing have always been a big part of my life.

My first camping trip to Algonquin was a 10 day excursion and I wasn't even 2 years old yet. We canoed and fished every single day and perhaps that's where my love of the outdoors began -- something I've worked hard to pass down to my own daughter.

We have a trailer where we do a bulk of our camping (aka "glamping"), but I'm still pro-tent when it comes to some of our other adventures. Two summers ago, I took my daughter on a 14-day trip from Ontario to the tip of Cape Breton and back, with many nights spent in a tent along the way. I love waking up early in the morning when the grass is still dewey and making coffee while the birds wake up.

I also love that Gretchen enjoys tenting it up with me -- she caught on quick when it came to things like starting the fire, setting up the tent, cooking over a camp stove, and packing up our gear. 

My mom took me on lots of fun trips when I was little, which definitely fostered a lifelong love of camping, fishing, campfires, and spending time in the wilderness.

S'mores pro 2016.

S'mores pro 2016.

Last week, Gretchen and I were invited by the Ministry of Natural Resources to spend a day up at Earl Rowe Provincial Park in Tosorontio, Ontario, to learn all about the awesome #LearntoCamp and #LearntoFish programs offered by Ontario Parks

Did you know that in 2011, a study showed that 25% of Ontarians had never been on an overnight camping trip? It was with this information that Ontario Parks created their #LearntoCamp program which helps to break down the barriers to entry that many families may face when planning their first trip.

Both the #LearntoCamp and#LearntoFish programs are available at six parks across the province -- Earl Rowe, Darlington, Emily, Sibbald, Six Mile Lake, and Grundy.

The #LearntoCamp itinerary includes a #LearntoFish session -- gear included!

The #LearntoCamp itinerary includes a #LearntoFish session -- gear included!

Gretchen and I got a chance to get some hands-on experience as we explored Earl Rowe, built a campfire, made s'mores, learned to identify local fish, practiced casting, and tried to bring in the catch of the day.

Watch the vlog below to see our day exploring Earl Rowe!

I have to say, after spending an afternoon thinking all about camping and fishing, we'll definitely be planning a trip this summer. I'm pumped that our province has such a cool program to help families dive into these summer activities without having to purchase all of their gear up front.

She MAY have eaten three s'mores that day... but that's the thing about s'mores...

She MAY have eaten three s'mores that day... but that's the thing about s'mores...

These programs are especially welcoming for new Canadians who are looking to start their own family traditions. I was impressed that the staff had vegan marshmallows on hand so that even folks with dietary restrictions could enjoy a little s'more action!

The #LearntoFish program is FREE to park visitors and you can register at one of the six parks for the sessions which run 4-6x weekly during the summer. The #LearntoCamp fee is just $130.75+HST for up to 6 people and all you have to bring is your bedding and food. Everything else is supplied!

How awesome is that? All of your gear is supplied for your two-hour fishing session as well, so no matter what your skill level happens to be, you'll be confident by the end and you'll have learned on the right type of gear. The staff is incredible helpful and great with kids too.

Gretchen, who has fished a few times but not this year, was casting like a pro within minutes -- actually you see her do it all by herself in the vlog, so scroll back up and watch if you haven't yet 😉

For families who have never camped before, even thinking about packing up and buying all the gear can be daunting -- these overnight sessions will help everyone in your family to feel completely educated about how to camp safely. You'll also be learning on a site with no electricity, which means you'll be able to camp anywhere when you're done the course.

We had a fantastic day learning about theses programs and I hope that if you're thinking about getting into camping and fishing this year, you'll take advantage of these awesome avenues to get started! Spread the word, my friends. And have a fabulous summer!

I'm thrilled to be working with the Ministry of Natural Resources on this sponsored post to promote their upcoming events this summer! Click here to learn more about how you can take part! Have fun making memories this summer, my friends.

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