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Destination: Sargent Center Winter Family Camp

Mild temperatures won’t dampen outdoor fun

With temperatures reaching a record-breaking 69 degrees last weekend, it appears that winter is officially on hiatus. And that means families who plan to take part in this weekend’s Boston University Sargent Center for Outdoor Education Winter Family Camp probably won’t be greeted by a winter wonderland.

But they shouldn’t fret, says Doug Sutherland, assistant director of adventure camp and outreach programs. There may not be any snow, but there will still be plenty of family-oriented activities to keep everyone busy.

This isn’t the first time that New Hampshire’s Sargent Center has seen a snow shortage. Last year’s sparse early January snow had melted by the time visitors arrived for Winter Family Camp. But Sutherland says they still had lots of fun. “In fact,” he says, “many of those families are coming back this year.”

A typical Winter Family Camp weekend includes cross-country skiing, snow tubing, snow-fort building, and snowshoeing. This year the camp will offer alternative activities, such as hiking, arts and crafts, and opportunities to climb the high and low ropes courses. Problem-solving activities, such as balancing on a large teeter-totter and using the “team trolley” — in which a group must make it from one point to another while standing on long wooden planks with ropes for handholds — foster communication among family members and newfound friends.   

Founded by Dudley Sargent in 1912, the Sargent Center for Outdoor Education began as Sargent Camp. It was acquired by BU in 1932 and became the summer location for physical education and health majors at Sargent College. Set among 700 acres of forest in the Monadnock region of southwestern New Hampshire, the camp features 25 miles of hiking trails, a 60-acre pond, a high ropes course, and basketball and volleyball courts. Visitors sleep in rustic cabins equipped with central heat and hot water. 

Winter Family Camp will take place January 12 to 15, 2007. For more information, call the Boston University Sargent Center for Outdoor Education at 603-535-3311 or e-mail scoeinfo@bu.edu.

Vicky Waltz can be reached at vwaltz@bu.edu.