This summer, New York officials will provide free tents and camping gear to people who want to try camping for the first time.

The First-Time Camper weekends will be held July 7 through August 25 at select campgrounds. Families who register will be provided with a family tent, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, camp chairs, a lantern and firewood.

A “Camping Ambassador” will even meet the families at the campsite, help them set up their camp and give them a “Camping 101” lesson. Campers will also have an opportunity to learn from experts how to fish, hike, bird watch, paddle and more.

Reservations are required and will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis starting May 17, 2017 from 9 a.m. -5 p.m. by calling 518-474-6718.

The program’s dates and campgrounds are:

  1. 7/7-7/9 – North South Lake (Catskills)
  2. 7/14-7/16 – Wellesley Island State Park
  3. 7/21-7/23 – Paradox Lake (Adirondacks)
  4. 7/28-7/30 – Schodack Island State Park
  5. 8/4-8/6 – Kenneth L Wilson (Catskills)
  6. 8/11-8/13 – Green Lakes State Park
  7. 8/18-8/20 – Hearthstone Point (Adirondacks)
  8. 8/25-8/27 – Hamlin Beach State Park