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 quality outdoor spaces.
The Trustees of Reservations, the nation’s premier nonprofit land conservation organization, is partnering with NEMO Equipment, a New Hampshire-based outdoor gear company, to provide the gear and expertise.
Along with Dunes’ Edge in Provincetown, Rocky Woods campground in Medfield and Tully Lake campground in Royalston will receive equipment. The three campsites are all owned by The Trustees.
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The initiative aims to expand access to overnight camping and outdoor experiences for Boston-area youth, some of whom are unable to camp due to the cost of equipment. This is the second year that Trustees has made more “concentrated efforts to reach underserved youth,” said Jen Klein, director of Trustees’ Outdoor Experience.
Helping city kids discover camping
The organization wants to “give urban youth a chance to experience what camping is like and then give them a chance to see parts of the states that they might otherwise not get to due to access,” Klein said.
The Boston-based Trustees of Reservations were founded in 1890 by landscape architect Charles Eliot. It now manages 123 locations or reservations in Massachusetts covering more than 27,000 acres.
According to the nonprofit’s website, the reservations attract more than 2 million visitors annually and host 5,000 programs with more than 250,000 participants.
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Referring to the Provincetown location, Klein said few metropolitan Boston youth visit the Cape as often, even though it’s only a ferry ride away.
The trustees have partnered with Big City Mountaineers, an organization that provides outdoor camping and recreational experiences for youth from underserved communities. By partnering with the nonprofit organization and receiving grants from REI, the trustees were able to fund transportation costs for youth to take the Boston to Provincetown ferry. It’s only about a half-mile walk from the ferry dock to the Dunes’ Edge campground, Klein said.
Make trips into nature more accessible
Klein said the goal is to make sure the trip isn’t a one-off experience for the kids.
“We can give them vouchers to come back with their friends and their families, so it’s not just a one-off thing they did,” she said.
The organization finds young people who can get involved in this initiative in various ways. Organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club contact the organization directly. Trustees reach out to specific organizations like YES Boston, and networking always plays a role in finding new youth organizations or schools that want to get their children outside and into nature.
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“What the (COVID-19) pandemic has really shed light on is the disparity between access for those who have the means and those who don’t,” Klein said. “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 whatever we can to flip that narrative and say that.” nature really is for everyone.”