6 Ways to Celebrate 100 Years of National Parks #findYourPark

Happy Birthday National Park Service from Yosemite National Park

If you've ever stood at the edge of cliff or a summit of a mountain and spread your arms out wide, as if you were about to take off soaring because your heart has been swept away by the breathtaking natural phenomenon before you, then you've probably visited one of our 412 National Parks.

So, let's put on our recyclable, sparkly party hats and wish a giant "Happy 100th Birthday!" to one of the most brilliant ideas ever: protecting America's natural wonders so future generations can reap the benefits of experiencing unparalleled natural beauty and learning deep, American history.

National parks are good for people. And giving both adults and kids access to these parks so they can learn to love nature and the outdoors is vital for a healthy earth and society.

Here are a few ways to celebrate:

Please share any more ways to celebrate, this is the kind of news we want to go viral!

Find me on twitter @OutdoorsyMama for live chatter about all things outdoors.

-Annie @OutdoorsyMama


Why Overnight Summer Camp Will Rock Your Kid's World #getOutside

Closing campfire at my daughter's overnight summer camp in Vermont. 

I was seven years old when my parents threw me into my first overnight summer camp. It was for a month, and possibly bordered on someone waking-up and calling the authorities for child abandonment. My older sister was also at the camp, although as a 12 year old, she outright denied any genetic connection to me like a developmentally appropriate pre-teen would. 

People gasp when they hear how young I was, and as a mom of three now, I shake my head and wonder: what were my parents thinking??

However, as I prepare my youngest for her one week away at camp, I find myself regaling her with tens and hundreds of fascinating details, stories, failures and triumphs from that one Vermont summer at Teela-Wooket. (That’s camp speak for: young girls who ride horses, shoot rifles and sing Mary Poppins songs whilst swaying.)

In fact, in an eye opening revelation, I realize that I remember that one summer at camp more vividly than any other summers up until I was thirteen years old and headed abroad for the first time. Why?

1 - Independence
2 - Survival
3 - Newness
4 - Shooting Range
5 - Archery
6 - Cold Morning Bathrooms
7 - Waking up every morning to trumpet reveille
8 - Raising the Flag
9 - My first fall from a horse
10 - Literally, getting back up on the horse
11 - Camp Uniforms
12 - Bug Juice
13 - Stacks and stacks of tiny cereal boxes
14 - Homesickness
15 - Award for shooting range
16 - Award for archery
17 - Red Rover Red Rover 
18 - Freezing in bunks
19 - Rest time
20 - Seeing Mom and Dad for the first time…
21 - Winning: Youngest Camper Award

These days, overnight summer camp is a no-screen, no brainer. No matter what, your kiddo will learn something about themselves and their bigger place in the world, even if it’s just simply: Why do they call it Bug Juice, Mom? 


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