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KOA's Big Weekend Is an Adventure Worth Staying Home For

Support a great cause: connecting kids with cancer to outdoor experiences.

By: Jonathan Stull + Save to a List

Between Friday and Sunday, KOA will host Big Weekend, an event that helps kids with cancer experience the outdoors. For a $10 registration fee, the virtual event will bring together families, wherever they may be, to celebrate the outdoors and advance the cause of connecting pediatric cancer patients to outdoor experiences. Fees and donations directly help children with cancer attend summer camps.

Take it from an adult child: Big Weekend's lineup looks off the hook for any kid with a sense of awe and mystery about the outdoors. The spate of weekend events includes a s’mores world record (are we setting one?! Get on my level.), campfire stories titled, curiously, “Who Pooped in the Park?”, a tent-building race, more wildlife curiosities, camp cooking and an astronomy party. Most intriguing.

This level. Photo by Jessie Snyder.

Your registration fee will advance a worthy cause. In the early 1980s, KOA created KOA Care Camps to connect kids with cancer to the outdoors. The scientific basis for nature-based improvements to physical and mental health outcomes is well-documented and growing. About 2 hours a week in nature "can lower blood pressure and stress hormone levels, reduce nervous system arousal, enhance immune system function, increase self-esteem, reduce anxiety, and improve mood," says this guy from Yale. "Attention Deficit Disorder and aggression lessen in natural environments, which also help speed the rate of healing."

Imagine what that might do for a child with cancer.

And until the pandemic ends and my dream of painting our city skylines with life comes true—I mean, can you imagine buildings draped with fruit-bearing plants and all manner of bougainvillea, our city streets transformed into living canyons overshadowed by towering skyscrapers alive with birds, insects, and small mammals?—we’ll have to settle with the nature we have in our backyards and via our computer screens.

(If it’s me, I’m setting up a projector.)

KOA’s Big Weekend starts Friday, May 8, at 4 p.m. Eastern and ends Sunday, May 10. Take a look at the full lineup of events and register at KOA Care Camps.

Cover photo by Kenton Steryous.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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