Families across Orange County and the nation this weekend took part in the Great American Backyard Campout, a National Wildlife Federation campaign to save youngsters from what author Richard Louv has called, "Nature deficit disorder.''
The federation urged youngsters to turn off their Playstations and ipods and instead discover star gazing, cooking over an open fire and listening for nocturnal wildlife.
An entire street of neighbors in Wagon Wheel camped out at O'Neill Regional Park. The group of 35 friends – including 10 kids – cooked s'mores, dined on barbecue burgers and hotdogs and enjoyed a roaring camp fire. A special treat: Watching the movie "Chicken Little."
"It was fun," said Dori Morper, 35, about her Frontier Street neighbors, who have known each other for a decade. "The kids were happy to just run around, climb trees and look for sticks."
In Santa Ana Heights, Cub Scout Den 6 (Pack 108) spent the night in the Secor Family back yard, along with their parents and some of their little sisters. The boys made macaroni and cheese on a camping stove, pitched tents and built a clock from a kit.
At 3 a.m., the girls decided to sleep inside the house because they were scared by snoring – two noisy dads.
"I thought it was a monster," said Isabella Secor, 6.