MESSAGE FROM TOM

Tom Heneghan - CEO, Equity LifeStyle Properties

Saturday, June 23 is an important date one that you should mark on your calendars. No, it's not the first day of summer, nor is it the longest day of the year those events fall on June 20.

June 23 should be a date, that you as a camper, should commemorate because it is the National Wildlife Great American Backyard Campout. This is the 8th year for this great event, which was created to encourage parents and children to "trade screen time for green time by spending a night under the stars."

The idea behind the Great American Backyard Campout is to inspire children to explore the great outdoors. According to their press information, in the last two decades, children have moved from outdoors to indoors, spending more than 7 hours per day in front of electronic media. The goal is to introduce them to the "great outdoors" and let them see how much there is to see and do.

For many, young and old alike, this event might be their first introduction to camping, and may spark an interest in something that can be enjoyed an entire lifetime regardless of age, geographic location, or income.

Although it is called the Great American Backyard Campout, the event's website encourages you to get out and camp, whether in your backyard, a park or a campground. So, why not Get Out and Camp in our backyard? Make your reservations and spend this day celebrating the great outdoors at one of our preserves.

The very nature of our preserves plays right into this event. Long before this campout campaign began, Thousand Trails was inviting families to come stay with us, experience nature and have fun while doing outdoor activities together. There are plenty of ways to experience the great oudoors with us horseback riding, geocaching, biking, hiking, bird watching the list goes on. Thousand Trails preserves and the great outdoors are all one and the same to me.

Whether you're a seasoned camper or a first-timer, the event's website, www.nwf.org/Get-Outside/Great-American-Backyard-Campout, has some great ideas for getting ready for camping, including tips, recipes, and games and activities. Also, watch our Facebook page during the days leading up to the event and we'll share some tips, stories and ideas, as well.

If you can't wait just take a look inside this issue and you'll find some very interesting takes on a campfire favorite the good old s'more. Plus, we'll take a look at the origins of some of the more popular campfire sing-along tunes.

We encourage you all to participate in this event, and introduce someone to this wonderful experience we call camping and enjoy the great outdoors!

What are you waiting for - Get Out and Camp!

Thought Of the Month
In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks." - John Muir

Tom Heneghan
President and CEO