Even with all the modern forms of entertainment available in American society, camping is still among the more popular forms of outdoor activity. Whereas outdoor camping has proved to be a lifestyle for many citizens going back centuries, recreational camping is something of a recent concept. The notion that camping might be fun happened in the middle and late 19th century. Thomas Hiram Holding lived from 1844 to 1930 and is thought of by many as the ‘father of camping’ when he started his outdoor life at the age of 9. He used to camp with his parents along the legendary banks of the Mighty Mississippi.
Robert Baden-Powell formed the first Boy Scout Association in 1908 in England. He would later become the official president of The Camping Club of Great Britain and Ireland. In the Scouting movement, an emphasis was placed on activities like camping and outdoormanship as gateways to a young person’s moral development. Once it came to the United States, the movement grew rapidly. In 1920, the Boy Scouts of America saw foundation, enjoying a congressional charter that very same year. In 1912, the Girl Scouts of America were also founded. Both of these organizations were at the vanguard of parents around the nation being exposed to the ideas of camping and a variety of other outdoor past times. This all happened simultaneously with a few of the country’s first National Parks being established.
Camping continued to be a recreational activity, even in the aftermath of WWII. This was actually when car camping got its start. The decades of the 60s and 70s saw environmental movements take root, largely springing up from the camping subculture. According to 2011 data, more than 40 million citizens age 7 or older went camping that year. The great outdoors calls to many.