AUGUSTA, Maine – Maine residents who want to experience the memory-making fun of camping for the first time at a Maine state park campground have about a week left to enter the First Time Campers raffle.
The deadline for entering the raffle is May 31. Prizes will be awarded to 44 families a free weekend of camping at one of 11 state park campgrounds, according to Park Manager Andy Haskell of Sebago Lake State Park. Haskell is organizing the popular program for the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, under the Maine Department of Conservation.
“Camping season is getting near, and it’s time to sign up,” Haskell said. “Park staff is ready, and we’re looking forward to this program to get started again. We would like as many people as possible to take part.”
Now in its fourth year, the First Time Campers program selects 44 families to win a free weekend of camping this summer at a Maine state park campground. The raffle is open only to Maine families who have never before gone camping. Each selected family will get the free use of camping equipment, receive gifts from sponsors and be supported throughout the weekend by park staff.
This year, the number of selected families has been increased. One of those fortunate families also will be the grand-prize recipient of a $1,000 gift certificate from the program’s major sponsor, L.L.Bean.
“These parks belong to the people of the state of Maine,” Haskell said. “We want people to come out and enjoy them, and we’ll be here to help them all along the way. We’ll teach them everything they need to know about camping.”
The program, part of BPL’s “Take It Outside” initiative, is designed to encourage Maine families to experience the fun and rewards of summer camping at Maine state park campgrounds. This year, the program is sponsored by L.L.Bean, Kittery Trading Post, Coleman, Hannaford, Oakhurst Dairy, Wicked Joe Coffee and Poland Springs.
Each year since its inception in 2008, the program has grown not only in the number of families who enter the raffle, but also, fortunately, in the number of lucky families who are selected for the free weekend of camping at a state park campground of their choice. Haskell pointed out the number of selected families has increased from 32 in 2008 to 44 for this year.
Raffle applications are available on line and at Maine state parks. They will be accepted until May 31. The recipient families will be chosen in a random drawing held on Friday June 3, with the families notified the week of June 6. There will be four weekends of camping from which the lucky winners can choose, from July 15-16 to Aug. 5-6.
The state park campgrounds include: Bradbury Mountain, Pownal; Rangeley Lake, Rangeley; Aroostook, Presque Isle; Camden Hills, Camden; Sebago Lake, Naples; Mt. Blue, Weld; Cobscook Bay, Edmunds Township; Lamoine, Ellsworth; Peaks-Kenny, Dover-Foxcroft; Lily Bay, Beaver Cove; and Lake St. George, Liberty.
Each family will receive camping equipment they can use for the weekend, plus four sleeping bags which they can keep. They also receive gift certificates and some food items for the weekend from program sponsors.
For more information about the First Time Campers program or to get an application, call Andy Haskell, park manager, Sebago Lake State Park, at: 207-693-6231 or go to: www.take-it-outside.com
For more information about Maine state parks and historic sites, go to: http://www.parksandlands.com.