Carey Hofmeister and her family soon will be re-creating their Camp at Home, Nebraska, adventure during a free three-night camping stay at a Nebraska Game and Parks Commission state park or recreation area.
The family was randomly selected from more than 360 participants in the social media challenge issued by the Commission during the height of the coronavirus closures across the state. Outdoor-lovers were encouraged to look to their own home or backyard as the ultimate outdoor getaway.
Creativity was not an issue. Game and Parks fans submitted dozens of photos of tents pitched in their backyards, basements or living rooms; recreation vehicle “getaways” on the front driveway; firepit-roasted and microwaved s’mores; tinfoil dinners cooked on the grill; and yard games galore.
Hofmeister and her children set up camp in early May and submitted their photos to the Game and Parks Instagram.
“When hot days lead to cool nights, it’s the perfect camping weather,” the Ashland woman wrote. “The girls set the tents up in the backyard. If the tent bed gets too lumpy, there’s a cozy one inside not too far away. Perfect scenario for Mom since I got talked into sleeping with a little fella.”
“This is the stuff they’ll remember when they grow up,” she continued. “Not so much the toys, but the experiences. It will totally be worth all the clean-up. I’ll try and remember that tomorrow.”
Making memories while bringing a familiar outdoor tradition closer to home was the goal.
“We’re grateful to each and every participant in the challenge,” said Jim Swenson, parks division administrator. “It’s been wonderful to see so many happy families and faces enjoying the outdoors and sharing joy and strengthening their family bonds. Congratulations to all who accepted the challenge and facilitated the next generation of outdoor adventurers.”
With camping opportunities available again at 76 parks or recreation areas across the state, everyone can find the perfect spot to suit their adventurous spirit. Find yours at OutdoorNebraska.org.