(call for July Fourth)
Amid rising social tensions in the U.S., one organization today challenged Americans to “invite someone different” to their Fourth of July cookout, calling for a “healing wave” across the nation.
“Jesus taught us to ‘love one another.’ Now, more than ever, America needs to put love into action,” said Mark Hancock, CEO of Trail Life USA (www.TrailLifeUSA.com), a national boys, faith-based adventure movement that’s launching its first-ever nationwide Backyard Cookout and Campout for Independence Day, July 3-4.
The South Carolina-based organization — which has more than 30,000 members in 830-plus troops in every state — is inviting “every American to be part of the great wave of national healing that needs to take place on America’s birthday,” said Hancock. “The heart and soul of our nation could be at stake.”
“Whatever your social position, religious beliefs, or political leanings, we’re suggesting you invite a neighbor who is different from you to join your July Fourth cookout, and share a hamburger or hotdog in friendship.”
The event — which follows Trail Life USA’s first-ever National Backyard Campout in April and Backyard Movie Night in May, when more than 12,000 families across all 50 states took part in “virtual” campouts at home — comes as lockdown restrictions are being eased in many parts of the country, giving the green light to small gatherings that follow social-distancing guidelines.
Celebrate, Heal Around The Grill
“The Fourth of July is a great reason to celebrate America — and look to the future with the optimism and positivity that we, as one people, have historically embraced since the birth of our country,” Hancock said. “In particular, this July Fourth is also an opportunity to listen, to reach out to people who aren’t like us, and to bind wounds as we gather around the grill together.
“We’re inviting families across all 50 states to turn this event into a new ‘American revolution’ of respect and kindness, reaching out to neighbors and others outside their family and usual social circle, and seeking a meaningful, affirming dialog with someone different from themselves.”
Participants will be able to link up with other families across the nation via a secure online portal, sharing videos and photos of their own celebrations.
Live-streamed speakers will include Edward Graham — grandson of the late evangelist Billy Graham — a U.S. Army Ranger Special Operations veteran who earned a Purple Heart in Iraq. Graham is assistant to the vice president of Operation Christmas Child for relief agency Samaritan’s Purse, an event partner.
Pro-life author and global speaker Father Shenan Boquet, president of Human Life International, will also join the virtual event, which is supported by Focus on the Family.
“We need to stop and remind ourselves why this nation, in spite of its warts, is still the best place in the world to live,” Hancock said.
Any family can register for the backyard virtual event at Trail Life USA’s website (www.TrailLifeUSA.com/backyard), where they’ll find camping tips, outdoor recipes, and activity ideas contributed by thousands of Trail Life USA volunteers across the country.
With troops operating in local churches across the U.S., Trail Life USA (www.TrailLifeUSA.com) is a Christian character development organization, empowering boys and young men to honor God, lead with integrity, serve others, and experience outdoor adventure. Trail Life USA has more than 30,000 members in 830-plus troops across all 50 states.
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