GREENVILLE, S.C. -- More than 5,000 families across America took part in the first-ever “National Backyard Campout” Friday night, organized by boys adventure movement Trail Life USA (www.TrailLifeUSA.com).
Families in all 50 states -- from Hawaii to Maine and from Florida to Alaska -- camped out under the stars in their own backyards, or set up a tent indoors uniting America in one common virtual experience.
Mark Hancock, Trail Life CEO and author of 5 Critical Needs of Boys said, “This is the time of year when kids look forward to a ‘spring break.’ Steve Padgett, the volunteer event coordinator, approached us with this idea, and we felt like it was something we needed to do. Families need positive things to do together, and kids need a break from the monotony of being stuck indoors. “
Hancock continued, “While many parents will look back on COVID-19 as a time of uncertainty and anxiety, this was an opportunity for boys -- and girls -- to remember this time at home with positive memories. We created a website filled with games, recipes, and activities . . . things as simple as a backyard scavenger hunt, or as involved as creating a marshmallow blow gun, a camp stove, or a walking tour of the solar system for the neighborhood. It was terrific to see families across America share in a common experience.”
In a matter of few hours families posted nearly 700 videos from their backyards and living rooms that were viewed nearly 40,000 times in the National Backyard Community Portal. At 9:00 PM EST, America logged in to watch an inspirational live streaming event that began with the Pledge of Allegiance and included camping tips, skills, and stories from backyards across America. Hancock recalled, “The sense of community was incredible. I think it gave families a feeling that we’re in this together, and we will overcome.”
Volunteer event coordinator, Steve Padgett, concluded, “America’s families have shown they won’t allow the coronavirus to ruin their fun. These are memories that will last forever!”
Families were urged to respect all emergency restrictions in their area -- including self-isolating and social distancing from non-family members.
Launched six years ago, Trail Life USA describes itself as a “Christ-centered, boy-focused, character, leadership, and adventure organization” with Troops meeting at local churches nationwide.
With Troops operating in local churches across the U.S., Trail Life USA (www.TrailLifeUSA.com) is a Christian character development organization, empowering boys and young men to honor God, lead with integrity, serve others, and experience outdoor adventure. Trail Life USA has more than 30,000 members in 830-plus Troops across all 50 states.