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June 23 – The Great American Backyard Campout

June 23 – The Great American Backyard Campout

 

Saturday, June 23, is National Wildlife Federation’s Great American Backyard Campout day.

On this day thousands of people across the U.S. will gather in their backyards, neighborhoods, communities and parks to take part in a one-night event that will provide an experience for all generations to open the door and sleep out under the stars.

Why is this important?

In case you haven’t noticed, the nature of childhood is not what it used to be. For many kids, there’s not much nature in it: today’s kids between 8 and 18 spend an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes staring at electronic screens. And in a typical week, only 6% of children ages 9 – 13 play outside on their own.

The American childhood has moved indoors during the last two decades, taking a mental, physical and spiritual toll on today’s kids.

We all need to Get Out!

Hence the idea of The Great American Backyard Campout!

Children love sleeping outdoors for a night, whether in the backyard or further afield. Telling scary stories and toasting marshmallows round an open fire, and then sleeping beneath the stars, is a thrilling adventure and a great way to share time together outside.

Here are some tips for camping parties:

•    Find a good place to camp, whether it’s the backyard, a local farm, or a campsite.
•    Make sure everyone has a really warm sleeping bag and extra clothes.
•    You don’t need a tent: sleeping out under the stars on a fine clear night is wonderful. Or try making your own shelter.
•    Take a few treats such as marshmallows and games.
•    Have fun!

I don’t know about you, but I always feel better when I have spent time outdoors. As the poet Terry Tempest Williams wrote, “Nature quiets the mind by engaging with an intelligence larger than our own.”

Now go camp out and enjoy!

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Photo Credit: Rosemary In Time

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11 comments

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3:03PM PDT on Jun 25, 2012

Before we get all warm and fuzzy about this, let's have a moment of silence for the kids that have to stay indoors because outdoors, even on the porch, could mean being accidentally shot, kidnapped, or raped. Sadly, these kids are the ones who need the outdoors the most, and getting away from their dangerous environment is expensive.

8:23AM PDT on Jun 25, 2012

great!

6:22AM PDT on Jun 24, 2012

If you can't afford ,DAY trips into nature are a MUST.
Camping inside is also fun on a stormy day/night!

6:38PM PDT on Jun 23, 2012

it's sad to not be able to get in touch with nature..i don't know about the science part but i always feel refreshed inside outside and stay young everytime i do camping and hiking or even just be out there enjoying the nature..

2:47PM PDT on Jun 23, 2012

Camping is great fun for kids and parrents as well. It is a good time for bonding and a chance for a parent to be a kid again even if it is only for a few hours.

12:03PM PDT on Jun 23, 2012

First World problems, I guess...

10:44AM PDT on Jun 23, 2012

Wow! That's the first survey here I've seen (by 12:35 CST) that 100% of us agree! My dad was a scout leader for 50+ years, so as a boy we would go on weekend campouts in tents in the deep woods outings at least once a month (winter in 2 feet of snow too) and several weeks in the summer, where would cook our meals over fires we built, wash our metal dishes in water heated on those fires, canoe and hike and sing around camp fires and fall asleep exhausted. :) He was Scout Master into his 80s and fell over and died a happy man.

7:16AM PDT on Jun 23, 2012

We went camping every year when I was a child and that experience taught me a lot about life and about family. I suggest you take your kids on a real camping trip...one with tents and campfires and not one in an enclosed huge RV.

6:47AM PDT on Jun 23, 2012

An introduction to Nature is essential. Everyone should do it! Especially children...

4:25AM PDT on Jun 23, 2012

As a kid every few weeks in the summer holidays me mum and my brother would make a little fire to toast marshmellows then sleep on the trampoline after scary stories. It was great and so good to see not only other families doing it but it also being an event.

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