Get your camping tent ready for the Great American Backyard Campout 2012!

Every year, the National Wildlife Foundation hosts the Great American Backyard Campout. If you have never heard of the event, it’s a wonderful program with a simple goal: to get kids outside. This year’s event takes place on June 23 in a backyard near you.

The 2012 Great American Backyard Campout’s site claims that only 25% of kids play outside daily. Children who spend too much time inside have increased risk of obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes; they also have higher chance of developing ADHD or just having increased restlessness compared to children who spend time outdoors.

The Great American Backyard Campout seeks to help these kids in two ways. The first is obvious: get kids camping. The idea is that by encouraging parents to take their kids camping for the night, even just in the backyard, that spark of love for being outdoors will develop. Scout leaders and parents who have taken children on their first camping trip can attest to the power of that spark of enthusiasm and interest.

The other goal of the event is to raise money to combat those negative effects of being inside. No matter what, you can certainly go camping on June 23, but also you can register as an official participant of the Great American Backyard Campout. You can register as a team – think about rallying your neighborhood, relatives, or Scout troop – or just as an individual. Once registered, you can design your own webpage and explain why camping and the event in particular are important to you. Then, use the emails that the NWF has already drafted you and send them to all your friends, family, and co-workers to invite them to donate to you or your team. The NWF uses 80% of the money raised through this event to establish, maintain, and support programs that emphasize outdoor time for children.

We know you’ll probably be camping that night, anyway, so why not make your outdoor fun into something that could help someone else enjoy camping, too! The Great American Backyard Campout is still two months away, but that’s plenty of time to form your team and start raising money. Here’s the information you need:

  1. Register at the National Wildlife Federation site.
  2. Start emailing your friends, family, and co-workers to raise money.
  3. Ask your employer if the business will match funds donated by employees.
  4. Get all of your camping gear ready for the big day, and let us know if you need help choosing a camping tent, sleeping bag, or other type of gear!
  5. Enjoy a night of camping on June 23, 2012.
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