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The Great American Campout

June 3, 2009

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The Great American Backyard Campout® is officially on Saturday, June 27, 2009. But camping is something you can do year-round, and we encourage you to give it a try. Get started on planning your next camping trip today!

Get Ready to Camp!

So you want to camp? Wonderful! Camping is all about memory making – so come make memories with us!

Step One: The 5 W’s – Who, What, When, Where, Why

Who? Who would you like to invite? Call a family meeting today!

If it’s more than 15 people, you can get our helpful advice by registering as a camping partner.

What? In what will you sleep?

Most folks choose a tent, but you can have a campout under the stars, in a lean-to, in a camper or even a cabin. At National Wildlife Federation, it’s all about being out there, so as long as you are connecting with nature, you are camping in the right place.

Don’t forget that many camping supply stores will rent equipment for a low fee.

When? The official date for the next Great American Backyard Campout® is June 27, 2009. But you can camp any time, any season, and we’ll be thrilled! Feel free to register your campout even if it’s not on that exact date.

Where? Many folks camp in their yards. You can also find local campgrounds. Check out our Green Hour Nature Find tool to look up green places in your zip code. If your group is growing, choose a location such as a campground where you can keep adding sites.

Why? Everyone camps for different reasons – but the bottom line is – connecting our kids with nature is good for them (and adults too). Camping reminds us how we can live with less, in tune with nature, while having a great time.




Step Two: Plan Your Activities and Food

The simplest campouts usually contain three things: supper, a campfire sing-along and breakfast. You can add ideas from there, such as:

  • How-to workshops (such as building a campfire, cooking over an open fire, how to hike, how to orienteer, camp side first aid)

  • Games (such as night-time flashlight tag, scavenger hunt, i-spy, sardines)

  • Crafts (such as lashing a table, creating a god’s eye, creating a nature journal)

  • Nature activities (such as night watch, star gazing, field study, insect identification)

For larger campouts, you might want to recruit an organizing committee. If you know people who are event planners, educators, naturalists, camping experts or work in the food industry, these folks can bring their expertise to make an inviting event.

How will you choose your activities? Ask participants if they have expertise in any camping, crafting or nature activities. Build around your group members’ interests and ages. Get ideas in our Get Ready Guides.

How will you choose your menu? Build your menu around dishes that you can cook on a campfire or camping stove. Don’t forget to ask for people’s dietary special needs.

Once you choose activities and a menu, make a budget by listing supplies / ingredients and their costs. If the cost gets too large, you could ask participants to contribute a fee. You can also ask participants to contribute food or beverage items to share the work.

If you have kids coming, ensure you have enough adults to manage them.

 Step Three: Gather Your Gear

We have made this helpful Packing Checklist with lots of tips – whether you are camping in the backyard, or at a campground.


Step Four: Camp!

If you have campers coming to a new location, make signs to help them find you.

Remember to take photos that you can share with us!

 Step Five: Share Your Story

Come share your camping photos and inspire other folks to try camping again.

You might write thank you notes to the people who helped organize the event.

For more Information, Ideas, Registering and/or Promotion, visit the site by clicking the banner below:

Camp with the Great American Backyard Campout

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