This summer, tens of thousands of Americans will unplug their devices and spend the night outside. That’s the simple idea behind the National Wildlife Federation’s 12th annual celebration of the outdoors, the Great American Campout.
In conjunction with Great Outdoors Month, the event encourages people of all ages to camp in backyards, parks and campgrounds, as a way to reconnect with nature. This year’s Great American Campout kicks off Saturday, June 25 and runs through September 30.
Here in Connecticut, the New Canaan Nature Center is hosting a Campout on June 25th. Spend a unique evening and night here at the New Canaan Nature Center, under the stars and with the night creatures (all harmless). Participants are welcome to set-up their tents in the afternoon between 3:30-5:30 P.M. From 5:30-7:30 P.M., we’ll provide a classic camping-style barbecue dinner of hotdogs, grilled corn & chips (with watermelon for dessert). Lemonade and water will be available for all ages; adults are welcome to BYOB. As folks are finishing up the tasty treats from the grill, all are invited to enjoy field games, music and all around fun on the Green! As the sun begins to set we’ll fire up the campfire ring and head off into the darkness for a special early summer night hike experience.
“There’s no better way for children to deepen their relationship to the natural world and the wildlife all around them than to spend a night outdoors beneath the stars,” according to Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “Camping is a traditional part of the American summertime experience – one that is often overlooked in these digital days. But families who spend meaningful time in nature often report that their children demonstrate greater focus, creativity, and calmness – benefits that improve school performance, strengthen interpersonal relationships, and catalyze leadership development.”
The National Wildlife Federation’s website – www.nwf.org/campout – has a directory of public Great American Campout events, packing tips, lists of fun activities and recipes, and more. Registration is free.
Campout participants are encouraged to take selfies of themselves camping and submit them to National Wildlife Federation’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts using the hashtag #campie to share their experiences and create an extended community of participants year-round.
The National Wildlife Federation has worked to connect children and youth with nature for decades, inspiring children through Ranger Rick Magazine, working with educators to teach kids about the outdoors and helping parents find new ways to engage their children outside.