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BENNINGTON — Bennington’s New Experience Camp is a weeklong camp from Aug. 1 to 5 aimed at giving kids, well … new experiences.

On Thursday, campers headed to Hale Mountain Fish and Game Club in Shaftsbury, with the intention of integrating firearm safety into a day of fun.

“We want to teach them that if they ever come across a firearm they know how to handle it safely,” said Joshua Stemp, camp director and coordinator of Bennington’s New Experience Camp.

The camp is divided into groups: “phase one” are campers ages 11 to 13, and “phase two” are ages 14 and 15. Stemp said many campers have never had experience holding a gun before.

“If they do have the opportunity, they can familiarize themselves with pistols, rifles and shotguns … understand how dangerous they are, how safe they have to be when they’re shooting, as well as being familiar with the different functionalities with the different guns we provide,” Stemp said.

This year, for the first time, the campers had the experience of taking all-terrain vehicles up to Lake Hancock for a day of fishing and canoeing.

Other activities at the New Experience Camp are repeated every year. Those activities are ones that kids and counselors alike look forward to — including whitewater rafting and zip-lining.

Stemp said parents say the camp is “all (the kids) talk about when they come home.”


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