Kick Off Summer with the Great American Campout
June 20, 2012

In an effort to get more kids and families outside, the National Wildlife Federation is organizing the Great American Backyard Campout this Saturday as part of a special event series called “Be Out There.”

The National Wildlife Federation works to protect wildlife and reconnect people with nature. The idea behind the event is to both encourage people to get outside and raise funds for the nonprofit’s mission. But raising money isn’t a requirement.

While the official day of the event is June 23, you can register your campout whenever you like. However, if you want to be eligible to win prizes (for top fundraisers), your donations must be sent in no later than July 31, 2012. To find a public team near you, visit the website. The First Parish Church in Dorchester has organized a team, and so far there are also two public teams in Weymouth and Leominster.

REI is one of the national sponsors of the event and has put together a fun 28-page kids’ adventure journal that can be downloaded for free here. Kids can keep track of their outdoor excursions, sketch animals that they spot, and enjoy nature-themed puzzles and games.

Setting up camp in your own backyard and perhaps inviting a few friends or neighbors over is a great way to kick off the summer in style. Along with raising your tent, you may raise awareness of how special it is to be outdoors. Just don’t forget the s’mores!

If backyard camping isn’t an option or doesn’t appeal, visit the Department of Recreation and Conservation’s website, which lists all the Massachusetts State Park campsites. Advanced reservations are available for 29 state forests and park campgrounds. To make a reservation, call 877-422-6762 or visit Another special place to camp is on one of the Boston Harbor Islands, which offer rustic sites on four of the islands. Reservations are required for these popular spots.





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