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Summer camping is a great opportunity to introduce a friend or family member to the world of “being outdoors”. Often times, after just one positive and fun experience, your invitee will be hooked, and they can join in on outdoor excursions with you for years to come. Sharing dreams, experiences, and making lasting memories with a community is the best way to be outside. You can create your very own community of campers with dedication and a few simple tips.
1. Lock in Locale
Some have a camping location conveniently located in their town, or even in their large backyard, allowing them to step into nature without much planning or thought. However, that is not the case for everyone. The support of other camper to encourage you to get out and enjoy the wilderness is why it important to have a camping community.
Most of my group camping trips have involved impressive location, such as lush forests, incredible vistas, lakes, mountain tops, waterfalls, and much more. When you are in a remarkable site, it helps bonds the group through the experience. For years you all will look back fondly on your adventures, and look forward to new ones. Check out some of the most raved about locations in your state and build it up to your friends. Have them invite others as well, which will give your friends some ownership and extra investment. If you are excited about the location of the trip, most likely they will be too.
2. Get Creative
Sometimes to enjoy the outdoors you have to think outside of the tent. At first glance, a recommended packing list for camping or any other outdoor activity may seem dauntingly long. Fear not, with some creativity and forethought, you can easily plan and pack for a trip. Although you can whip out the credit card at your local outdoor store, we recommend first using what you already have to get the nature party rolling. One benefit of creating a camping community is combining and sharing gear with each other. Make sure everyone has what they need by collaborating on who can bring extra sleeping bags, a tarp, or all those other handy pieces of gear. It also gives you all a chance to test out different products as well as tips and tricks you may have.
3. Create a Tradition
Make sure to create a fun tradition with the group that can be replicated each month, season, or year. If you are camping with families, it usually works out to be during the school breaks when the whole family can join in.
For example, growing up my clan gathered with several other families for an annual camping trip. We always carved pumpkins, made caramel apples, and enjoyed other fall festivities. Then in the summer, the same group would reconvene at a campground nearby an amusement park. Where we would make sure to spend one of our camping days at the park. On all the other trips we would ride the rides during the day, and cook s’mores over the campfire at night.
Such traditions will bond you to the group with great memories and create anticipation for the following year. This takes some commitment and a few years of practice, but the relationships built in the process are priceless.
4. Plan Fun Activities
Sitting around all day and enjoying the sounds of nature, or a grueling day-long hike is not everyone’s cup of tea. While it is impossible to cater to everyone’s personal likes, you can build community by planning and implementing a wide variety of activities that will ensure laughs and relationship building for all. Bring lawn games, puzzles, and have some ideas for when there is down time that needs to be filled.
5. Get Help
There are a multitude of ways to connect with other likeminded people who love being out in nature. Search the web for groups that meet for hikes or outdoors activities. From these meet-ups, connections can be made that may result in future camping and outdoor buddies. These groups may also provide ideas and suggestions for locations and activities, if you already have your own group ready to go. Usually outdoor enthusiasts love sharing about the things that make them excited, and will lend info and a helping hand if they can. Of course, be safe at these meet ups and use common safety sense before deciding to go off the grid with a stranger.
6. Infiltrate and Inspire
A possibly more difficult, but even more rewarding way to create a camping community is to start with your close friends and family. You have the power to be a catalyst for change in your close social groups and relationships. While your family may hate camping, be persistent and start small with a fully equipped camp site. If you own that role and do the careful planning, you may just lead your loved ones to greener pastures, literally!
Swigart, Phoenix Mountain Preserve
Make it fun, interesting, and adventurous, and they will come!
Do you have a camping community? What traditions and fun activities does your group enjoy?