Heber Boy Sleeps Outside For 100th Consecutive Night In Homemade Shelter
HEBER, Utah — Ten-year-old McKay Anthony set out to accomplish a major feat Tuesday night — sleeping outside for a 100th consecutive night in a miniature “cabin” in the backyard he and his family constructed.
“This was a success for me and, yeah, awesome,” McKay said, proudly seated in the wooden shelter complete with multiple layers of insulation, a bed and numerous blankets. “This insulation will keep me warmer for long periods of time.”
The boy, who previously camped outside for 30 consecutive nights after the COVID-19 pandemic began last year, got the idea of staying out in a sheltered structure while reading the Bear Grylls Adventures book series his teacher gave him.
“The only thing he wanted for his birthday was to go to Home Depot and buy wood to do this,” said mother Jenni Anthony.
The project took about four weeks last fall, aided by how-to videos on YouTube and requiring the help of McKay’s family and friends, according to father Dave Anthony.
McKay’s streak began on Dec. 21 and endured through lows as cold as 4 degrees.
He admitted to having doubts along the way as he marked each night on a piece of cardboard.
“I was thinking, ‘Oh wow, three digits, that’s going to be impossible for me,” the boy said.
Jenni Anthony said McKay could have always come inside the house, but even on the coldest nights he bundled up and stuck to his goal.
“I’m so proud of him — it’s amazing,” she said. “It’s kind of hard work. I’m worn out, he’s worn out because he can’t go to sleep until we heat it up first. We turn off the heater when it’s time to go to bed and he won’t go to sleep until either Dave or myself goes and does the video journal, makes sure he’s OK.”
McKay’s father said his son picked winter to stay outside because it was the most extreme time to do so.
“I think it’s a great story of a little kid trying to set a goal on things that he can control,” Dave Anthony said. “In his mind, he saw Bear Grylls doing survival stuff and he thought, ‘I can survive in my back yard.’”
McKay said Tuesday he was already eyeing a more ambitious feat for next year — perhaps sleeping outside for 150 or 200 consecutive days.
His message to others was not to give up on goals and dreams.
“Just never give up goals, always believe in yourself,” McKay said. “You can prove yourself wrong.”
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