Thursday, March 19, 2009

Kentucky's conservation camps

Conservation camp sign ups are now being taken through the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR).

KDFWR operates camps at three different locations across the commonwealth and these camps provide an opportunity for youngsters to learn a variety of skills including boating, swimming, fishing and many others.

My wife and I both attended the KDFWR Conservation Camp at Camp Earl Wallace on Lake Cumberland and are two kids followed the same route. The experiences are fantastic and you can make lifelong friends there. Here is the entire press release with information about the camps from KDFWR:

Kentucky Dept. of Fish & Wildlife Resources News
Kentucky Afield Outdoors:
Registration underway for conservation camp fun
March 19, 2009 Contact: Lee McClellan FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 1-800-858-1549, ext. 4443 Frankfort, Ky. – I remember the first time I operated a motor boat. It was at Camp John Currie on Kentucky Lake and I was in sixth grade. One of the counselors took me out on the lake to earn my boating patch.
I was nervous. Being on a bay of Kentucky Lake with a loud motor and driving a boat was a bit intimidating. I didn’t realize at the time that left means right and right means left when turning a boat propelled by a tiller-style outboard. My counselor made me back it down into neutral and start over after I turned the boat the opposite way he instructed.

Soon, I relaxed and my confidence grew as I successfully negotiated turns and crossed a few wakes. I earned my boating patch and bragged to my buddies when I got back to school that I could drive a boat and they couldn’t. I’ve cherished every moment spent on a boat since.

We who love the outdoors lament the slow decline in the number of young people who pursue our ancient arts. More children now live in urban areas with little chance to fish or hunt. They have video games, texting, iPods and soccer. We had bluegills, bass and squirrels.

Sending your child away for a week to one of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources’ summer camps is a great way to introduce them to the outdoors and help keep these traditions alive. The application period for this year’s summer camps ends April 15.

“Our summer camps provide a fun and affordable place for Kentucky children to learn how to safely enjoy outdoor activities,” said Laura Burford, assistant director of Kentucky Fish and Wildlife’s Information and Education Division. “At camp, they will make new friends and have the chance to try things they may have never done before, such as shooting a bow or a .22 rifle.”

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife operates Camp John Currie on Kentucky Lake, Camp Earl Wallace on Lake Cumberland and Camp Robert C. Webb on Grayson Lake. Campers arrive at camp on Monday morning and return home Friday afternoon. Transportation is provided.

“We have more than 4,500 children attend our camps each summer,” Burford said. “Campers earn achievement patches for activities in boating, archery, fishing, casting, swimming, nature and outdoor survival. Those campers who earn all seven patches will be awarded an outdoorsman or outdoorswoman patch. Campers may also earn their boater education and hunter education cards that week.”

Camps cost $215 a week or $200 if you apply for camp online. To apply for summer camp online, go to Kentucky Fish and Wildlife’s homepage at and click on the “Education and Outdoor Activities” tab and then on the “Conservation Education” tab. Conservation Education Program Leaders for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife are visiting schools right now and distributing summer camp applications. You may also call 1-800-858-1549 for more information.

Author Lee McClellan is an award-winning associate editor for Kentucky Afield magazine, the official publication of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. He is a life-long hunter and angler, with a passion for smallmouth bass fishing.

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