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Outdoor Family Workshops to Morph City Slickers into Nature Buffs
AUSTIN, Texas — Has your living room TV become the central component of your family’s group activities? If so, maybe it’s time to head outside for a weekend and become an outdoors family.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Outdoors Family weekend workshops give families with children between the ages of 5 and 12 a chance to explore the great outdoors and learn skills like camping, fishing, kayaking and archery.
"It offers today’s families an opportunity to learn very basic outdoor skills that they may have never been introduced to or that they may have learned way back in their scouting days," said program coordinator Ashley Mathews. "The learning is so easy and fun that there is little chance of embarrassment."
The program began as an outgrowth of the successful Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program. Demand has grown so much that TPWD has scheduled seven additional workshops for 2008.
Mathews attributes the increased interest in the program to the public’s growing recognition of our increasing disconnect from nature as a society.
"More and more people are starting to understand that a disconnection between our children, ourselves and our natural environment is harmful to us mentally and physically," she said. "People are trying to find easier ways to expose themselves and their kids to outdoor activities. Time in the outdoors can really help children with attention issues, and provide a setting for them to decompress and be imaginative."
The workshops typically begin Saturday morning and last through Sunday noon. Usually, six to eight classes are offered throughout the weekend. Families are able to rank in order of preference which three classes they would like to attend while registering. All classes are geared toward absolute beginners.
Fees for the course are set by the local parks and recreation departments with which TPWD partners, but average $150 for a family of four. Meals and recreational and safety equipment necessary to participate are provided.
Below is the schedule for the spring and summer 2008 workshops:
- March 29-30 — Temple, TX
- April 5-6 — Huntsville, TX
- April 5-6 — Kyle, TX
- April 12-13 — Missouri City, TX
- May 17-18 — San Antonio, TX
- June 3-4 — Tyler, TX
- September 27-28 — Georgetown, TX
For registration information contact Ashley Mathews at: Ashley.Mathews@tpwd.texas.gov or (512) 970-9247.
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