Do your children long to spend their summer days in the great outdoors? Would they
love the chance to learn about wildlife from experts, and hike or canoe with other
children their age?
Then it's time to sign them up for the Ocala Outdoor Adventure Camp at the Florida
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's (FWC) Ocala Conservation Center in the
Ocala National Forest. Registration for the 2010 summer sessions has already begun.
The summer camp is for boys and girls, ages 9-15, and focuses on wildlife
conservation, outdoor skills and firearm safety. This year, the camp offers six
one-week sessions beginning June 20.
The primary goal of the camp program is to help children become good,
conservation-minded sportsmen and wildlife stewards. They learn these skills and
values through fun and educational programs and pastimes such as fishing, canoeing,
swimming, hiking, archery and many other hands-on outdoor activities.
Tuition is $295 per camper per week and includes lodging, food, program materials
and instruction for each session. Each week-long session is divided into four
groups, based on individual focus: wildlife and conservation, state-mandated hunter
safety course, hunting skills, and advanced outdoor skills.
"Campers in the wildlife and conservation group go wild exploring nature," said Greg
Workman, director of the Ocala Conservation Center. "They learn about wildlife
concepts and enjoy many traditional camp activities, as well as gun safety and other
fun, hands-on outdoor activities."
For the camper who wants to take the state-mandated hunter safety course, the hunter
safety group is the way to go. This program teaches campers how to be safe and
ethical outdoorsmen and women. They'll learn about wildlife and their habitats and
be able to apply what they learn when they go into the woods. In addition, they
will have a chance to get their certification, which the law requires before they
can get their hunting license.
"They will receive firearm and archery safety instruction from certified range
safety officers. They'll also learn basic outdoor skills and field first-aid
training, and do other traditional camp activities," Workman said.
After the campers complete their hunter safety certification, they're eligible for
the advanced bowhunting and archery skills program. This program carries the
National Bowhunting Education Foundation (NBEF) certification, which some states
require to hunt during archery season.
The African Safari Club of Florida sponsors the final program, which focuses on
wilderness outdoor skills.
"This program is for campers who have an avid interest in the outdoors. They'll get
to experience several outdoor adventures, including an overnight primitive camping
trip into the forest and hiking on the Florida Trail," Workman said. "Before
leaving base camp, campers prepare for the experience by learning the fundamentals
of surviving in the wilderness, orienteering, backpacking and preparing a campsite."
The Ocala Conservation Center is on a 57-acre peninsula, rich in history and
wildlife, in Marion County. It is 20 miles east of Ocala, on Lake Eaton, in the
heart of the Ocala National Forest. The facilities are rustic, yet comfortable,
with air-conditioned cabins and dining hall. The classrooms have no walls,
consisting of fishing piers, shooting ranges, nature trails, Lake Eaton and the vast
Ocala National Forest.
For more information or for registration materials for the summer program, call
352-625-2804 or go to