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First-Time Campers Head to Camden 

Patricia Foley was online signing up for her yearly park pass through the Bureau of Parks and Lands, when she noticed the “First-Time Campers” program.”It is for families and children that are not getting outside anymore, that are kind of growing up without that experience in their lives,” says Sandie Sabaka, Assistant Park Ranger. Foley signed up for the program, and then a couple of weeks ago she got a surprise. “I saw an email that said the Foley family has won a camping trip for the weekend.”So they packed up and headed to Camden Hills State Park.Angela Smith, Foley’s daughter says, “They provided us with a list of essentials. We used that as a guide and then just brought some creature comforts.” “My husband, when I left this morning he wanted to know if I was going away for a week!” adds Foley laughingly. The program provides them with all of the camping essentials, like sleeping bags, camping tools, a small grill, and of course a tent.”I would really like to learn how to set up a tent. I have enough trouble setting up my little beach tent!” says Foley.Foley got her wish! Sabaka was there to help them set up and get their bearings.After a bit of fumbling, and a little rearranging, the tent was successfully set up. The Foley family is looking forward to their first night sleeping under the stars.”We’ll probably just hang out here and tell little spooky stories and toast marshmallows and make s’mores!” says Foley.”I’m excited for the s’mores!” adds Alana, her great granddaughter.