UPDATE: April 17 at 2 p.m: A spokesperson for Trail Life USA told The Christian Post that the number of families participating in the National Backyard Campout has increased from 2,000 to 5,000.
A Christian youth scouting organization will observe its first-ever “National Backyard Campout” event, created in response to stay-at-home orders to combat the spread of COVID-19.
Approximately 2,000 families have already registered for the event, scheduled to take place on Friday, which was organized by the scouting group Trail Life USA.
To help with the inaugural observance, Trail Life included suggestions for recipes, activities, as well as how-to guides on outdoor camping on their website.
Trail Life CEO Mark Hancock told The Christian Post in an interview on Tuesday that his organization wanted to create a fun event amid the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic.
"We think that families need something to look forward to in this time and we wanted to create for kids a positive experience out of this difficult time,” Hancock said.
"Adults may look back on it as a time of uncertainty and shortages and layoffs, but kids can look back and say, 'wow, that's when our family came to the backyard.'"
Hancock also told CP that Trail Life was seriously considering making the “National Backyard Campout” an annual event, even after the coronavirus pandemic comes to an end.
"Our initial thoughts were that we needed a special event in this special time,” he said, “but we're hearing from more families that they really like the idea and it will certainly be something we're considering for the future."
For the time being, Hancock hoped that families who participate in the campout on Friday will “find a new way to bond” through the experience.
“That, in these difficult times, they find purpose in being together in what may be a different way and that they carry that forward and it makes family bonds stronger and better,” Hancock said.
Trail Life USA was officially launched on New Year’s Day 2014 in response to the Boy Scouts of America voting to change their policies to allow for openly gay members.
“We believe that homosexuality is sinful and immoral, as is any sexual activity outside of the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman,” stated Trail Life on the FAQ portion of their website.
“Consistent with this belief, we have specific policies that address membership and sin in both youth and adult members.”
Trail Life also does not permit the chartering of a troop by any church that does not accept the doctrine of the Trinity, such as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“Non-Trinitarian denominations do not participate in our program because our specific Statement of Faith adheres to Trinitarian doctrine,” explained Trail Life on their website.
Since its establishment in 2014, Trail Life has grown to include over 30,000 members and more than 830 troops in all 50 states.