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Making History: First-Ever White House Campout

On Tuesday, the First Lady hosted the first-ever White House Campout on the South Lawn, one of America's most iconic National Parks. Fifty Girl Scouts were invited to participate in the campout, co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Interior, that celebrated the centennial of the National Park Service and promoted getting kids and families moving while taking advantage of America’s great outdoors as part of Let’s Move! Outside

Honorary Co-Chair of the National Park Service Centennial and Honorary National President of Girl Scouts USA, the First Lady said, “What better way to highlight Let's Move! Outside than to have the Girl Scouts camping out right here in a National Park at the White House.”  


First Lady Michelle Obama participates in tent pitching activity during the White House Campout as part of the "Let's Move! Outside" initiative, with Girl Scouts on the South Lawn of the White House, June 30, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

The group, representing Girl Scout councils in Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Washington, DC, and Oklahoma, spent an afternoon of outdoor activities, working toward earning Girl Scout outdoor badges.  The activities included climbing a rock wall, tying knots, pitching tents, and participating in orienteering exercises with the First Lady.  


Girl Scouts scale up a rock climbing activity on the South Lawn of the White House where First Lady Michelle Obama hosts the White House Campout as part of the "Let's Move! Outside" initiative, June 30, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

In the evening, the President and the First Lady joined the Girl Scouts out on the South Lawn for a campfire sing along.  


President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama sing songs with Girl Scouts during the White House Campout, as part of the "Let's Move! Outside" initiative, on the South Lawn of the White House, June 30, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

After dark, Astronaut Cady Coleman and NASA scientists enlightened the girls with amazing stories of space and new sights through their telescopes. In addition to seeing the moon’s craters and Saturn, the girls were able to view Venus and Jupiter, which were “in conjuncture,” only one degree apart and visible in the same frame. 

We prepped the girls for our storm plan as they (somewhat) quietly settled into their tents for the night. Due to a mighty storm that swept through the nation’s capital in the wee hours of the morning, we moved the girls safely indoors. After eating breakfast and packing up to go home, an Oklahoma Girl Scout shared with me very softly and sweetly, "Thank you for letting us make history with you."