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The Tarry Family from Morgan Elementary is campaigning for students, parents and residents around the province to take part in this year's BC Stay-at-Home Campout, which encourages people to stay home and have fun camping in their backyard or living room, while raising money for the BCCDC Emergency Response Fund.
Camping outside of your health region may be on hold, but the Tarry family from Morgan Elementary is encouraging others to turn their backyards and living rooms into campgrounds on Saturday, May 1, with the return of the BC Stay-at-Home Campout, an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 while raising money for a good cause.
The family got the idea last April near the start of the pandemic and took to social media, urging people around the province to camp in tents or blanket forts and donate a minimum $5 "camping fee" to the BCCDC Emergency Response Fund. Premier John Horgan even tweeted about it, and the fundraiser ended up raising more than $4,500 for COVID-19 research.
"My uncle knew someone who did something like this in England, and we thought it was a pretty good idea so we tried it out ourselves," said Piper Tarry, who is in Grade 6 at Morgan Elementary. "We decided it was important because it's good to help out as much as we can with COVID and to remind people to have fun at home."
"It was so fun the first time and it raised a lot of money, so we wanted to do it again to raise even more," said her brother Cooper, who's in Grade 3.
Their mother, Kelly Tarry, said the response last year was astounding, with people from Vancouver Island, Northern B.C. and the Interior pitching tents and sharing videos of their campfires and campouts.
Last year, the Tarrys spent their campout cooking on the barbecue, filling a tent with pillows and blankets, watching a movie and spending time with the family dog. This year, they're spreading the word in schools in hopes that more families will join them from their own yards.
"We're hoping to get more schools involved because we think it's been really tough on families," said Kelly. "It's been a real challenge, and we'd love to see more families join. This can give them something fun to look forward to."
"I really didn't think COVID would be going on this long, but it gives us another chance to help out," said Piper.
The family is already a little more than halfway to their fundraising goal of $500, but Kelly noted the campout campaign is also to remind everyone of the importance of staying home, in line with ongoing provincial health restrictions.
"The awareness part is just as important as the fundraising," she said. "The numbers are still high, and if we can just stay home a little bit longer, let's make it fun for those families that are going a bit stir crazy."
To donate or for more information about the BC Stay-at-Home Campout, visit the Facebook fundraiser page.