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What? You didn’t know that there was an official camping month? Yup, June has been designated National Camping Month since the 1970s. This can mean going camping in your big rig, or just camping out in your backyard. But what if you aren’t one who goes camping? Fear not, because June is also Great Outdoors Month too! Hey, June can be two things! LOL
National Camping Month
As I mentioned, June is National Camping Month. This is a great opportunity to introduce people you know to the fun activity of camping. Many people aren’t sure that they will like camping. You’ll hear things like “I’m sleeping on the ground?”, or “I don’t like bugs”, or other similar things. But you most likely have ready answers for these objections. Try to help them think about camping as an experience that they can try, but they don’t have to commit to anything beyond giving it a try for one night. If you have space in your backyard, that makes it easy to try. If they really aren’t having fun, you can all end up going back in the house where they will be comfortable. But part of the fun is sitting around a fire at night, cooking marshmallows or other yummy desserts, sharing stories, and even singing a camp song or two.
Okay, They Will Go Camping
Great! You convinced them to give camping a try. What should they bring? Well, think through the activities that you’ll be doing. First, you’ll be setting up camp, so dress according to the weather. This often means shorts and a light shirt. Later, as the sun sets and the fire gets going, they might want some long pants and a sweatshirt. Even a spare blanket might be welcome. For sleeping, whatever they are comfortable in will work. In the morning, they can wear the same pants and sweatshirt that they wore the previous evening. So not many clothes will be needed.
Food items can be discussed ahead of time, and your new camping friends should be encouraged to bring some needed items and help out with the food preparation. They could also bring some paper plates or other items to help with the meals. Most likely, they will be looking forward to evening treats cooked over the fire, like s’mores or pudgy pies (Pie Iron Recipes book available on Amazon).
The next thing that should be addressed are activities. If you are the gaming type, card games are a great way to have fun. Some games also have miniaturized versions for travel. If table games aren’t interesting, you could do some yard games instead. Ladder ball, bocce ball, frisbee and other yard games are fun ways to enjoy the day. Sometimes solitude is desired, and many people look at camping as a way to finally get time to read. Bring your favorite book or magazines to enjoy outside. Or maybe you want to practice art, so bring your art supplies and paint a picture of your campsite. Photography is another great option, which allows you to capture the fun and practice your skills.
That’s really all that is needed for a single overnight in your backyard. Its incredibly cheap, and you get the benefit that your house is just a few yards away if things go badly or the weather suddenly stops cooperating. So try to get some new people interested in camping. In fact….
Great American Campout
…June 22 this year is the day designated for the Great American Campout! This is the day that the National Wildlife Federation promotes to help get people interested in camping out overnight and enjoy the great outdoors. In my next post, I’ll have a great interview with my friend Josh from the National Wildlife Federation talking all about the Great American Campout this year. But if you want to set a date for this new camping excursion, June 22 is an ideal date. You can learn more at: www.nwf.org/great-american-campout
National Outdoors Month
Not to be outdone, June is also National Outdoors Month. Believe it or not, there is a website dedicated to this: www.greatoutdoorsmonth.org. The purpose of this is to encourage people to get outdoors and find activities that they want to participate in. For us tent campers, that’s an obvious one: we like to go camping! But there are lots of other ways to enjoy the outdoors that don’t have to include camping.
If you like fishing or want to try it, choose the first week in June which is designated as National Fishing and Boating Week. Many states actually offer free fishing weekends during this period of time to help encourage people to take up the activity (otherwise you would need a fishing license). As the name implies, boating is also part of that week, and there are many ways to enjoy time on the water. From small canoes and kayaks to large pontoons and even bigger, spending time on a boat of any size is a lot of fun. June 8 is specifically designated as National Marina Day, and many places will be offering educational trainings and classes about life on the water and other activities.
Hiking is another great outdoor activity that is easy to participate in. More than likely, there are several trails nearby that you can walk/hike for a few hours. The first Saturday in June has been designated as National Trails Day. During this day, you are encouraged to get out and hike, but to also help clean up the trail that you are on. If we don’t all pitch in and keep things clean, we won’t have these trails to enjoy any longer. In some areas, you can also help improve trails, or even build new trails for future use.
Along with hiking, biking is another great outdoor activity. Often you can bike on the same trails that you hike on, so these trails are multi-purpose in nature. This year, the weekend of May 31 through June 2 has been designated as Bike Travel Weekend. This is not just a U.S.-based weekend, as over 20 countries around the world are also participating. Check out www.biketravelweekend.org for more details and ideas for getting out on your bike. This can be a wonderful family activity as well.
Finally, there is a national day for getting outdoors. June 8 has also been designated as National Get Outdoors day, and you can learn more at www.nationalgetoutdoorsday.org. No matter what you do, whether its going to a local park, taking a walk, working in your garden, or any number of hundreds of outdoor activities, its important to spend time in the great outdoors. This is also a great way to help children have fun outdoors as well. Many areas will have free admission to state or local parks as a way to make it easy to experience outdoor activities and hopefully introduce people to more things that they like to do outside.
So, no matter what you do, the whole idea of June is to enjoy our natural wonders! The United States is an amazing place with so much to see. We shouldn’t take the outdoor spaces that we have for granted, and when we do use those spaces we need to remember that we should “leave it cleaner than you found it”, even if that means picking up a small piece of litter. So, let us all know, will you be camping for the Great American Campout? Will you be taking a hike in June? Will you be enjoying time on a boat or a bike? What do you like to do outdoors?
Got some feedback on this topic? I’d love to hear from you! Comment below, send me an email or share it on social media! Happy Tent Camping!
Featured Image photo courtesy TheDigitalWay, 8/6/2016. Photo was taken from: https://pixabay.com/users/thedigitalway-3008341/