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America's Best Idea Today. In National Parks And In Your Neighborhood.

Many of today’s parents didn’t camp as kids. While they want their children to have this experience and develop the appreciation of nature that comes along with cooking over an open fire and spending the night under the stars, they’re a bit intimidated to strike out on their own. Enter Camping 101. “Give a man a s’more,” says Shenandoah National Park Superintendent Martha Bogle, “and he will camp for a day. Teach him how to make s’mores and he will camp for a lifetime.” And that is the simple philosophy behind the park’s efforts to reach out to families and help them develop hiking and camping skills that build a deeper appreciation for the natural world. The park provides all the tools: tents, cooking gear, and even the marshmallows. Danny Catron, a science teacher at Rappahannock County Elementary School, worked on the project as part of the National Park Service’s Teacher-Ranger-Teacher program: “I’ve been camping since I was six years old,” said Catron. “Being able to help first time campers learn about the joys and satisfaction of camping is great.”

Today, the National Park Service is helping connect people to nature so they can make lifelong memories in their national parks – making America’s Best Idea even better.

Next Story: Growing the Park Idea »


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How Can You Help Connect with Nature

Visit. Find a park to visit »

Shenandoah offers camping to suit all styles: cabins, campground, backcountry (and even a few lodges!).

Volunteer. Find more volunteer opportunities »

Help weed out invasive plants in campgrounds and throughout the park.

Donate. Find a park to support »

The Shenandoah Trust and the Shenandoah National Park Association support park projects.

Help Your Community. Find more ways to help in your community »

Learn and practice the seven principles of Leave No Trace.

Downloadable Desktops.

Appalachian Trail at Shenandoah

Autumn splendor in Whiteoak Canyon

The heights of Hawksbill Mountain