A Great Start for National Get Outdoors Day

The National Get Outdoors Day (NGOD) preview event treated children and their families from the Washington, D.C. metro area to a day of free, healthy outdoor fun. The Boy Scouts of America’s Camp Snyder hosted the Saturday, May 31st event and more than a dozen national and regional organizations partnered to provide diverse outdoor activities and information on where to get outdoors and how to take care of public lands and waters. The event also served as a pilot for more than 45 sites across the nation where official National Get Outdoors Day events will occur on June 14th, helping America’s kids get off the couch, away from computers and involved in healthy and active outdoor adventures.

The National Get Outdoors Day preview event was open to all but specially targeted urban families who rarely engage in outdoor fun. Active, hands-on recreation opportunities were highlighted. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries provided rods, reels and casting lessons. The National Park Service offered an orienteering course, teaching youth about adventure with a compass and map. Kids put up and took down tents and tested sleeping bags furnished by the WOW-Wonderful Outdoor World, the Bureau of Land Management’s Eastern States Office, local REI stores and The Coleman Company. The children and their families could readily imagine themselves at a campsite enjoying s’mores by the fire. The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association and Reines RVs offered tours of RVs, including a unit with kid-friendly bunkbeds and a new, diesel-powered unit with car-like fuel efficiency. The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) handed out free coloring books, chalk and balsa wood airplanes and encouraged participation in the Great American Backyard Campout on June 28th and in other fun family outdoor activities. USA Freedom Corps shared information about volunteer and community-service opportunities that connect us to our nation’s public lands and waters.

Crowd favorites were the U.S. Forest Service’s Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl and the NWF’s Ranger Rick, all of whom posed for pictures, strolled through the campsite and used companions to talk about key issues ranging from fire to outdoor ethics. An appearance by the local volunteer fire department gave an extra dimension to the special event. While a deluge of rain, high winds and a tornado watch closed down the event a bit earlier than planned, the preview event generated a mountain of smiles and many plans for more outdoor fun.

Details on National Get Outdoors Day are available at www.nationalgetoutdoorsday.org
Photos from the National Get Outdoors Day preview are available at: National Get Outdoors Day