The Great American Backyard Campout | NBC Southern California

The Great American Backyard Campout

The National Wildlife Federation's annual family night out sticks close to home.

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    Great American Backyard Campout
    The Great American Backyard Campout, an annual reminder from the National Wildlife Federation to enjoy nature, takes place on Saturday, June 28.

    When starting a new venture, it is always best to take a single, small step to get things moving. The eensiest of efforts is really all that's required to goose something off the ground.

    Even a love of nature and respect for our wider, wilder world. The National Wildlife Federation understands that it can be daunting for families to pack up the ol' wood-paneled wagon and make for the outdoors for an overnight adventure. Too much doing, too much work, too much too much.

    That's why the preservation-minded organization promotes an outdoorsy, back-to-nature, planet-love concept that is so simple and so easily enacted that it almost seems difficult not to do: camp in your own backyard or a pal's backyard.

    The Great American Backyard Campout's goal is a simple one: Put people back in touch with the land, sky, wind, and tree in the lowest-pressure of ways: By having them haul a sleeping bag out the backdoor.

    That's right. Just you and your own lawn. There's no gassing up the car, no driving for four hours, no maps, no gear. Well, some gear: Putting up a tent or digging up some s'mores-making kits is up to you.

    Every person who pledges to participate automatically helps to raise funds for the federation's efforts in the conservation arena.

    The campout date? Saturday, June 28. The cost? Free, you betcha: It's you and your backyard or a neighbor's yard. A number of families group-up to make the happening a larger and livelier thing.

    Much livelier. If you've fretted over your kids unplugging a bit this summer, putting them with a bunch of friends' kids, on a backyard overnight, can be something of a novel adventure.

    And a great way to get all of us who spend the bulk of our time indoors back under the sky. That's all the National Wildlife Federation is ultimately asking here: Enjoy the world outside, think about it, even, and maybe start a lifelong with nature.

    And that, of course, begins with one small step, into a backyard.

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