Gear Up For The Great American Backyard Campout

S'More good old-fashioned fun on June 27

06-03-2009 // Mary Burnette

More Americans than ever are staying close to home this summer for economic reasons. Thousands of families and communities around the country have already registered for this summer's ultimate staycation -- National Wildlife Federation's fifth annual Great American Backyard Campout on June 27.

An Associated Press-GfK Poll found that 20 percent of respondents planning a trip this summer will stay closer to home. Camping is an accessible and affordable "stay-cation" that brings families together and helps keep them mentally and physically healthy. Participation for National Wildlife Federation's fifth annual Great American Backyard Campout is expected to be unprecedented, with tens of thousands of campers already registered across the country.

The crackle of a campfire--gooey goodness of toasted marshmallows--spine-tingling delight of a scary story--laughter mingling with the sounds of nocturnal wildlife--memories that last a lifetime, just outside your back door. Time spent outdoors is also a great way for families to reconnect with each other, free from the usual day-to-day distractions and over-loaded schedules.

Great American Backyard Campout is part of NWF's Be Out There™ campaign to encourage American families to spend time outside in nature every day—a goal that couldn't be more timely. For the first time in American history an entire generation will come of age primarily indoors. Studies link lack of unstructured playtime outside to increased childhood obesity, less self-sufficiency and reduced creativity. Even President Obama demonstrated his commitment to outdoor time when he declared June Great Outdoors Month.

"President Obama's proclamation recognizes the many benefits of connecting with nature and exploring the wonders of the natural world around us," said Kevin Coyle, Vice President for Education and Training at National Wildlife Federation. "We think every month should be Great Outdoors Month with families getting outside year-round to enjoy exercise, nature exploration, and bonding time."

Want to join others in your community participating in Campout? To find a local campsite, or register a backyard or campsite for the Great American Backyard Campout, visit www.backyardcampout.org, which features group events around the country, along with recipes, camping tips, family activities, mp3s of campfire songs, and more.

When the last embers burn down on June 28, families can continue to Be Out There with NWF's help. National Wildlife Federation offers free resources to help children and their families enjoy the year-round benefits of outdoor activities such as camping, fishing, cycling, or hiking. Parents and kids alike will enjoy logging on to www.nwf.org/naturefind to receive information and directions for hundreds of fun, family-friendly and affordable outdoor activities and events in their area, including zoos and aviaries, hiking and biking, nature trails, parks, and star-gazing.

National Wildlife Federation is America's conservation organization inspiring Americans to protect wildlife for our children's future. www.nwf.org.

Contacts:
Mary Burnette at 703-438-6097 or Burnette@nwf.org
Ashleigh Poff at 703-438-6515 or PoffA@nwf.org

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