Campfire Tales and Coastal Adventures: A Look Back at the 8th Annual Navy Campout
November 16, 2023 | Story by Megan Trexler | Commander, Navy Installations Command
WASHINGTON --- The 2023 Great Navy Campout, sponsored by T-Mobile, recently concluded its 8th annual celebration of outdoor recreation and camping. From June through October, the initiative, hosted by Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) HQ Navy Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Community Recreation and Liberty-Single Sailor programs, successfully connected military personnel and eligible MWR patrons with the joys of camping and outdoor adventure. A total of 55 Navy installations worldwide saw 1,700 participants engage in local events.
One of the many Great Navy Campout events was held at Cliffside RV Park, nestled along the scenic shoreline of Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island, Wash., from June 23-25, 2023. Drawing over 400 attendees, including 98 first-time campers, the Whidbey Island event offered a memorable experience. Whidbey Island MWR hosted the 3rd annual Family Olympics, featuring relay races, a watermelon eating contest, and a physical fitness challenge. The event also included educational elements, with National Park Service rangers distributing passes to eligible active-duty Sailors, retirees, and veterans. A ranger from Deception Pass State Park showcased a gray whale skeleton and MWR organized a storyteller to share Native American tales, enhancing the cultural and entertainment aspects of the campout.
Naval Air Station North Island’s event offered a weekend of various entertaining activities. The weekend kicked off with a dance party with a hired DJ, followed by an outdoor movie night featuring “The Little Mermaid.” Early risers had the opportunity to participate in sunrise Yoga on the beach. Attendees also gained valuable insights into local wildlife conservation from a local environmentalist. The weekend offered not just entertainment and relaxation but also fostered a deeper appreciation for the great outdoors.
This year, Navy MWR introduced the Pledge to Camp giveaway as part of Great Navy Campout. Launched by Navy MWR Community Recreation and Liberty-Single Sailor programs, the initiative encouraged participants to share their camping experiences each month for the opportunity to win gift cards. The monthly giveaways featured two $500 gift cards, one designated for junior Sailors and another for military personnel E6 and above, along with other eligible MWR patrons. At the end of the initiative, a grand prize of a $2,500 gift card was randomly awarded to an individual from each category. The giveaway, totaling $10,000 in prizes, engaged over 1,500 participants from the Navy MWR community.