Freya Bairdson, a 10th grade homeschooler from Westmoreland County, attended the Pennsylvania Bucktails and Ursids field schools this past summer. Read about her experiences, and those of other attendees, here.
What’s the hardest part of running a camp aimed at getting teens active in the outdoors?
It’s not finding qualified instructors. It’s not finding a facility. It’s not finding the money to make it go. It’s not even finding volunteers.
It’s finding teens.
That’s the tale that’s been told more than once by more than one camp director. Come up with a promising way of getting teens active in conservation and adults with a passion for all things wild will step up to help, they say.
But finding kids to fill the camp? That’s much tougher.
So here’s a chance – several, really — to pass the word along to youngsters you might know and give them an opportunity to do something cool this summer.
First, the Wildlife Leadership Academy is accepting nominations for boys and girls ages 14-17 to attend one of its four five-day camps set for various times next summer. They’re known as Pennsylvania Bucktails, Drummers, Brookies and Ursids and deal with white-tailed deer, ruffed grouse, brook trout and black bears, respectively.
Participants learn about their respective species and the challenges they face. Lessons – ranging from team-building exercises to mock TV interviews to field work dissecting fish and game to sampling streams to working with a tranquilized bear – are led by professional in all of those fields. Students shoot, fish, play games and more, too.
There is a cost, but scholarships are sometimes available. Graduates become “certified conservation ambassadors” and receive a letter of a recommendation for college applications and are eligible to apply for three college credits through Cedar Crest College, among other things.
Information and applications can be found here or here.
Second, the Cumberland County Chapter of Trout Unlimited is planning its 22nd annual Rivers Conservation and Youth Fly Fishing Camp. It’s set for June 19-24 at the Allenberry Resort in Boiling Springs.
Open to 32 boys and girls ages 14-17, it involves fly tying instruction and 10 fishing sessions. Students will also do a lot of learning, about watershed management, aquatic bug study, ecology, entomology and more. All course work is based on a college curriculum.
All meals and accommodations are included in the $400 cost and applications are now being accepted. Visit here or email email@example.com with questions.