Saturday, July 5, 2014

Great American Backyard Campout 2014

We attended the National Wildlife Federation's wonderfully organized Great American Backyard Campout at Sky Meadows State Park last weekend. 

This campout was very easy considering Ranger Christa Kermode (who I think should be cloned and dispatched to every state park in need of an energetic leader with good people skills) put together dinner and breakfast with the help of park volunteers. All I had to pack was the tent, our sleeping bags, and a change of clothes. The car was practically empty.

Adding to the ease of this campout was the fact that barely had to entertain the girls. The Blue Ridge Wildlife Center brought an opposum on a leash, a cuddly skunk, a snake, and a flightless screech owl. The girls did not fidget once during the entire presentation.

The Shenandoah Mountain Rescue Group showed a video called Lost But Found Safe and Sound  that tells young children what to do if they get lost in the woods. As a result of their talk, I am making waist (fanny) packs for both my girls with a space blanket, a loud whistle, and a small light source. I will remind them before every hike that in the unlikely event that they should get lost, they should stop and wait, not run around and get more lost.

The Great American Backyard Campout staff set up a table giving away binoculars to the children and crafts like creating a picture frame from sticks and pinecones and crayon rubbings of animals.

After the presentations and dinner, the rangers built a campfire and some musicians with a good sense of humor did their best to sight-read traditional campfire songs. What good sports they were to drag a bass and two banjos all the way across a field to a campfire.


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