Celebrate The Great American Backyard Campout!

camp out 2Looking for a cheap, TV and computer free activity that the whole family can participate in?  Then, look no further than your own backyard.  The National Wildlife Federation has declared this Saturday, June 22 as the Great American Backyard Campout.  According to the National Wildlife Federation’s website, “thousands of people across the nation will gather in their backyards, neighborhoods, communities and parks to take part in a one-night FREE event that will provide an experience for all generations to connect with nature.”  You can even register your campout on their website.

With today’s busy lifestyles, a neighborhood campout can be a great way to connect with neighbors that you don’t normally see or to meet new ones.  Planning a neighborhood campout event can be easy and relatively cheap.  The Tarrington neighborhood in Midlothian, Virginia held its first annual campout on June 1, 2013.  Approximately 25 families came together on a multi-purpose field in the neighborhood and pitched their tents.  Everyone enjoyed some good old family fun with s’mores (on a small fire pit which was borrowed from a family) and ghost stories.  Once the tents were pitched, the adults engaged in some relaxing conversation as the children played games. Once it got dark, the children played flashlight tag and gazed at the stars.  camp out 3A resident boy scout came and instructed the children on camping safety.  There was even one brave family that slept out under the stars in sleeping bags.  Some of the neighborhood moms even made a simple, pancake breakfast in the morning.  Everyone agreed that this was one of the best events that the neighborhood had planned.  The only cost was for the s’mores and the breakfast.

If your family would rather join an already established campout, Pocahontas State Park will hold its second annual campout on June 22-23.  Families can participate in the campout by reserving a campsite by registering on-line at www.dcr.virginia.gov/state_parks and then selecting “Pocahontas” from the Parks category and then scrolling to “Overnight Facilities.”  The Pocahontas Park campout will include many activities for children from 6-9 pm, such as an outdoor cooking demonstration from Old Dominion Iron Chefs, music from The Bee Flats and stargazing courtesy of the Crewe Astronomy Club.  These events are free to campers who have registered with the park.

So, grab your family and your tent and head outdoors this Saturday for some fun which will be remembered for months to come.

kristin grayKristin Gray lives in Midlothian, VA with her husband, Brad, and boys, Jacob (8) and Christian (5) and one year old German Shepherd, Cody.  She practiced law for seven years in Richmond before deciding to stay at home with her boys.  In her spare time, she enjoys running and playing tennis.