Great Outdoors Month

Outdoor recreation promotes activity, reduces stress and promotes relaxation.

In 2019, the US Senate officially designated June as ’Great Outdoors Month.’

‘Great Outdoors Week’ began in 1998 and has grown since into a month-long celebration of the outdoors.

Since 2008, governors from across the country have joined in designating June as a month to celebrate the great outdoors!

great outdoors month

Maximize Employee Engagement through Outdoor Incentives

Outdoor recreation can have many health benefits, including reducing stress, promoting physical activity, and providing opportunities for relaxation. It can also have significant economic benefits for local communities and the national economy.

It is also a fantastic opportunity to engage with your work teams in a fun and casual environment.

Boost your employee engagement initiatives by helping managers to provide enticing spring and summer incentives to encourage visiting the great outdoors for their teams. Whether it entails organizing a team outing, hosting a picnic in the park, or distributing food delivery gift cards for a nice outdoor picnic, offering employees a range of options will enhance the effectiveness of your employee appreciation initiatives.

employees participating in an outdoor volunteer project

Ways to Celebrate National Great Outdoors Month

The list of ways to celebrate the outdoors is virtually endless. Besides hiking, fishing, mountain biking, or camping there are also lots of volunteer opportunities in the great outdoors

Volunteer Outdoor Services

Perhaps your local parks have opportunities  for your group to get together and donate some labor? Try out a park cleanup, a simple maintenance task like painting at a local park or trail cleanup or an outdoor steward program. It’s a great chance to share a picnic lunch after a few hours of (optional) work.

Park Cleanup

Cleanups can be fun! It’s a bit of work but you’re supporting organizational skills, time-management abilities, and a sense of responsibility within your team, while you give back to the community.

Tree Planting Team Exercise

Tree planting can be a fun activity and it allows your team to work together to give back to the environment while interacting, engaging, and making rewarding memories. Provide plenty of refreshments and a nice outdoor lunch. There are things to do for every skill and strength level, from the strenuous tasks of digging to the easier tasks of moving wheel barrows or something as simple as providing refreshments to the group.

Team Picnic

Picnics are a superb way to celebrate Great Outdoors Month and strengthen work relationships. Company picnics are also excellent opportunities to spend time with your colleagues’ families and socialize outside of the office. Company picnics can be fun experiences and lend themselves to becoming a yearly event if you make sure they don’t get a boring with the same kind of event every year. Mix them up with different menus, food trucks, games, and entertainment. Perhaps create a theme for each picnic event such as backwoods, pirate, or tropics themed events.

Adopt a Park

Many municipalities have park sponsorship programs at various levels. You might encourage your teams to become involved with the park either through a donation of money or a commitment to a certain number of labor hours each year.

Team Building Ideas

There are dozens of traditional team-building activities that are suitable for the great outdoors. These range from charity runs and walks to outdoor scavenger hunts to hikes in the great outdoors.

Watershed Cleanup Days

Many organizations sponsor cleanup events for creeks, rivers and other natural water bodies. Join a crew to remove trash from the banks of a river or a pond. You can search organizations such as American Rivers for ideas for cleanup efforts near your location.


Saturday, June 3, is National Trails Day. Strap on your hiking shoes and enjoy a hike on a nature trail. The American Hiking Society encourages hikers to also enjoy a day of service and advocacy. They suggest bringing along a bag so you can pick up litter as you walk the trail.

employees at a company picnic

Use a Combination of Engagement Strategies

Successful organizations use a full combination of events, meetings and engagements as well as employee engagement incentives and reward programs to help retain and attract high-quality employees.

Outdoor activities are great for morale, well-being and for team-building.

No matter the occasion, a little bit of fun in the workplace along with unexpected gifts can boost morale, build team spirit and foster a sense of loyalty to the organization.

Employee engagement is key to maintaining a productive and motivated workforce. Engaged employees are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs, and more likely to contribute to company goals and objectives.

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The History of National Great Outdoors Month

Great Outdoors Month began in 1998 under President Bill Clinton as Great Outdoors Week and has now grown into a month-long celebration of America’s public lands and waters at the national, state, and local levels.

In subsequent years, the observance expanded beyond a week to encompass the entire month of June. President George W. Bush officially designated June as “Great Outdoors Month” in 2004. The purpose of this month-long celebration is to encourage Americans to explore and enjoy the natural beauty of the country, participate in outdoor recreational activities, and promote conservation efforts.

Since then, Great Outdoors Month has been recognized annually by presidential proclamation, with various events and activities organized nationwide to encourage outdoor recreation and appreciation of the environment. These activities include camping trips, hiking adventures, fishing excursions, wildlife watching, and volunteering for conservation projects. Great Outdoors Month serves as a reminder of the importance of preserving and protecting natural spaces for future generations to enjoy.

Great Outdoors Month is a month-long celebration of responsible, healthy outdoor recreation on local, state, and federal lands and waters. Every June, folks across the country go outdoors to enjoy nature and open spaces.

Great Outdoors Month is coordinated in part by the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable and includes events held throughout the month including:

  • National Park Trusts’ Kids to Parks Day
  • RV Industry’s National Go RVing Day
  • American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day®
  • National Fishing and Boating Week, coordinated by the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation
  • National Get Outdoors Day, coordinated by ORR and the U.S. Forest Service
  • National Marina Days, coordinated by the Association of Marina Industries
  • National Wildlife Federation’s Great American Campout

Some events—like National Marina Days and The Great American Campout—last all summer. And, of course, you can always hike, bike, camp, ride, fish, boat, and more in our great outdoors.

The pandemic reminded us all how important getting outside is to our mental, physical and economic health.

It is important to remember that outdoor recreation improves mental and physical health, something that is advantageous to colleagues and employees.

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Here a few official 'Outdoor' days:

You may consider offering your employees a choice of gifts to use for Great Outdoors Month and make them aware of the following celebrations.

Here a few official 'Outdoor' days:

American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day

June 1, 2024. Millions of people have found physical, mental, and emotional restoration on trails during the pandemic. Let’s return the favor and care for America’s magnificent trail system and ensure everyone in the U.S. can enjoy trails and natural areas.

National Fishing & Boating Week

June 1–9, 2024. This annual celebration has been observed since 1979, starting on the first Saturday of June. Most states offer free fishing days during the week, without the need for a fishing license.

Outdoor Stewardship Week

Outdoor Stewardship Week 2024 is April 28–May 5, with the theme “May the Forest Be with You, Always”. The National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) has been hosting this annual program since 1955 to promote natural resource conservation. The theme highlights the importance of soil and water conservation and the resilience of forests.

National Get Outdoors Day

National Get Outdoors Day is Saturday, June 8, 2024. Started in 2008, this annual event is intended to inspire and motivate Americans to get outside for a healthy, fun day of outdoor adventure. Some parks have designated National Get Outdoors Day as a free day to visit parks without purchasing a vehicle permit.

Great American Campout

In 2024, the Great American Campout kicks off on June 22 and runs through the end of September. When you’re camping, whether you’re roughing it in the backcountry in a tent, or stepping outside of your RV with the smell of breakfast cooking on the stove, the point is to experience the natural world.

Add to your Outdoor Celebration with Employee Achievement Awards!

Celebrating with awards or gifts shows appreciation for employees and boosts morale in the workplace. Recognizing small achievements and milestones can help create a sense of team camaraderie and a culture of fun.

However, it’s important to be consistent and follow any rules the organization has established.

Small awards or gifts can be a great way to show appreciation for employees and build a positive work culture.

employees playing a circle game at picnic

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