-By Brandon Wikman
The past five weeks haven’t been spent glassing fields for fury antlers, or for that matter planting food plots; but rather on the phone, attending meetings and detailing a surefire schedule for my youth camp.
It’s hard to imagine just last fall I began to brainstorm concepts to implement an outdoor day camp for kids in the state of Wisconsin. Now it’s here! I’ve spent countless hours planning, preparing and strategizing the best way to grab the attention of an eight year old, but more importantly making it a pleasurable and enjoyable learning experience. After several trial and error practices, I’ve nailed down a twelve-hour outdoor education course!
I plan to begin the camp bright and early at eight in the morning. We will begin an introduction of participants and instructors to ease any nerves and break the ice. I will continue by describing how I began my lifelong pursuit in the outdoor industry and how they too, can make their dream come true. I’ve always been interested in the behind the scenes look at what goes into making a television show. So, I’ve brought my cameraman to demonstrate a brief seminar and show his equipment for display. It’s always neat to see the camouflaged camera, monster tripods and a big arm brace bracket for tree stand hunting. That’s not even including all the wireless microphone equipment, cleaning supplies, batteries, tapes, etc.
The basis of my camp is to touch on a little bit of each hunting subject, whether it is deer, turkey, environmentalist, or farmer. By giving kids a small sample of what the outdoors offers, it maximizes the chance that they’ll follow hunting traditions for years to come.
Whitetails are a fascinating creature. That is why I plan to spend a respectable amount of time teaching kids about their characteristics and behavior. Everything from searching for mock shed antlers, scoring, fake blood trailing and analyzing scouting techniques, the whitetail portion is exciting and fast paced. We dig into the anatomy, growth and ages of deer through diagrams, videos and detailed pictures.
Wild turkeys are another critter that deserves time in the spotlight. We dissect the scouting, planning and calling techniques to exemplify how diverse these animals truly are. Their wide range of vocabulary and behavior makes them a challenging opponent. Teaching kids how to use mouth calls, and friction calls will be a main component in the breakout sessions of the class.
The last event planned for the day is a lifelike 3d-archery hunting course. I’ve spent several days in preparing specific scenarios of animal encounters and crafted it into a gripping experience! From shooting from elevated positions to hunting tent blinds, this course will test not only endurance, but also focus and concentration.
My primary goal as a teacher is to implement educational tools that kids will take and use for years to come. I’ve integrated video, hands-on experience and demonstration areas, so kids are able to understand each and every topic to the utmost. Finding fun in outdoor education was as easy as coming up with the idea of a camp for kids. The tricky part about it was all the minor details that go into it making it a fundable learning environment.
With enough passion and heart put toward a project, only God knows the potential of it. I hope through my camp kids will grasp a better understanding of the outdoors and the several opportunities they have to live the outdoor experience. Whether it is growing food plots, stalking whitetail, or calling in turkeys, it’s something all kids should at least try once.