Camp-in

The Washington State Parks Foundation, which held its first "camp-in" on April 17, has another one scheduled for tonight.

S'mores cooked over the kitchen stove, tent pitched in the backyard or living room.

Yes, it's camping during the time of COVID-19 and Gov. Jay Inslee's "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order.

The Mount Baker Council of the Boy Scouts of America and the Washington State Parks Foundation will host virtual campouts on Friday.

The Mount Baker event, called CamporALL, is from 4 to 9 p.m. and anyone can attend by going to mountbakerbsa.org.

The Great Washington Camp-In is the second hosted by the Washington State Parks Foundation. It begins at 6:30 p.m. Go to waparks.org to get your spot.

"We didn't know it was a thing and now it's a thing," said Washington State Parks Foundation Executive Director John Floberg. "We got so much positive feedback after the first Camp-In. Nobody can go out camping right now, the parks are still closed, so this is an opportunity for people to get together and share a little bit of that campfire experience in a virtual community."

The first Camp-In included about 6,000 participants on April 17, and has gotten about 5,400 views on YouTube.

"It's about offering that state park experience without actually going," Floberg said. "Sometimes, just a blanket over a couple of chairs is all it takes."

Combining technology with traditional activities, the virtual CamporALL is the first in the 110 years of the Boy Scouts. It will offer opportunities for all to camp out while staying apart.

"It's a different situation," said Mount Baker Council North Cascades District Executive Blake Jones. "We wanted to find ways to keep our scouts involved and to keep it going.

"This is the way. They can camp in their backyard or wherever they can. It's a way to do things and keep kids and parents involved. They can't necessarily get out and camp, but they can do this."

Participants can join traditional camping activities including an evening campfire and games.

"It's going to be a lot of fun," Jones said.

The Camp-In will offers an eclectic mix of ranger talks, acoustic guitar sing-alongs, orca biology, flatfoot dancing and salmon grilling tricks. There will also be a presentation on the Mount St. Helens eruption, which will mark its 40th anniversary on May 18.

"It's artists, it's storytellers, rangers and interpreters," Floberg said. "It's that human element you'd see in parks that helps really translate that experience."

The foundation's inaugural Camp-In featured a chef who walked folks through making s'mores, and there were recipes for chili.

For the sing-along, song lyrics will be available for campers to download from the foundation's website.

Is it really camping — whether it's indoors or out — without shadow puppets?

"One of my favorite things to do when you're in a tent and you have all that space behind you is to make shadow puppets," Floberg said. "So we have a magician who is going to teach kids to do animals with their hands. So I am really looking forward to that."

The Camp-In will also feature a chat function to allow audience participation, and the foundation will give out Washington State Parks-related prizes, including complimentary Discover Passes, state parks guides and state parks maps.

"We hope this just gives people ideas for when they can finally break out and visit state parks personally," Floberg said.

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