MAINE, USA — The coronavirus pandemic hasn't been easy on anyone, particularly kids.
"It had it's up and downs," 9-year-old Maisie Barton of Portland said.
Maisie says she's enjoyed spending more time with her family and being outside. But she says, "On the other hand [I] don't get to see my friends that often."
So Maisie and her 7-year-old brother Max were excited when they learned they would be taking part in the first-ever Maine Backyard Campout.
"We've never camped in the backyard," Maisie said.
Neither has Allison, Maisie's mom.
"I don't ever remember camping in my backyard we always went somewhere to camp," she said. "So what a great idea."
The idea came from the Maine Recreation and Park Association to help celebrate National Parks and Recreation Month and to encourage families to get outside while safely social distancing.
"A lot of places are closed, festivals have been canceled, big special events are canceled so we were thinking, 'let's try to make a special event everyone can do,'" Director of the Community Center in North Yarmouth and coordinator of Maine Backyard Campout Lisa Thompson said.
The Maine Backyard Campout will be held on July 10 and 11.
So far, 32 communities and hundreds of families from Presque Isle to Kittery have signed up. All ready to camp outside or even inside their homes.
"Camping is something you can do anywhere and those who signed up are eligible for prizes and there are a lot of giveaways," Thompson said.
The Bartons have already set up their tent and they're looking forward to the adventure.
"It's something you can do and feel a sense of community and have fun," said Allison Barton.
"We're going to sleep outside," Maisie said. "We're going to have a campfire and make smores and play games."
There will also be a photo contest. Participants are encouraged to take pictures of their camping adventure and send them to the Maine Recreation and Park Association.
Click here to learn more about the event and how you can participate.