One of the great things about sportsmen and women is their willingness to lend a hand. This willingness is expressed in many ways, whether it is contributing to conservation through funding, volunteering to work on habitat improvements, or introducing someone new to the outdoor world of hunting fishing and trapping. If you haven’t already thought about it, it is most definitely time to get your son or daughter registered to attend the Michigan OutofDoors Youth Camp for Kids! Many of you reading this will have lots of experience getting outdoors and may have passed that on to your children and grand kids. Now the next step is to continue to network and try to bring in your children’s friends or neighbors. If you have a son or daughter who loves to hunt and fish and they have a friend who may be interested in learning but who is not sure how to get started we have the program for them. Talk to them about joining us at Cedar Lake for a week of Riley Wilderness Youth Camp.
The Riley Wilderness Youth Camp is hosted by Michigan OutofDoors Youth Camp in Chelsea, MI. Sponsored by SCI-Novi with a generous donation from the Riley Foundation, children are given the opportunity to learn about hunting, fishing, and conservation. They even have the opportunity to earn their hunter safety certificates. For 6 days and 5 night’s children ages 9-14 are given the opportunity to leave their cell phones, tablets, and other electronics at home and spend time learning about the environment around them. This camp exceeds the sprinkling of nature programming offered by most camps by including conservation and ecology lessons as part of each and every day. During their week at camp, youth will increase their knowledge of ecological concepts and broaden their awareness of conservation issues though hands-on nature experience. The campers spend the week living in cabins on a property that consists of 225 acres of white pine forest, bordered on one side by a bog and on another by the waterfront of Cedar Lake. Far away from the bright lights of the city this setting gives the campers a great opportunity to learn about and experience the outdoors on a personal level.
The goal of the Riley Wilderness Youth Camp is to provide the opportunity for 80 boys and girls to connect with nature and to learn about hunting and conservation. Since 2005, when the Michigan OutofDoors Youth Camp, SCI-Novi and the Riley Foundation began their partnership the Riley Wilderness Youth Camp has sent over 630 kids to the camp. Last year 73 of the campers got hunter safety certified through this program.
The youth are provided a full scholarship to attend 1 of 2 sessions of camp depending on age and interest. The Riley Jr. Camp is for boys and girls ages 9-11 and focuses on a sampling of outdoor activities, ranging from archery, and canoeing to fishing and hunter safety class. The other camp option is the Riley Advanced Camp for boys and girls age 12-14. This camp is focused on the skills and techniques of hunting in Michigan as well as wildlife conservation. Youth in the advanced camp will also have the opportunity to become hunter safety certified and will spend time shooting trap, target practice with .22’s, learning from master turkey callers and also learning about big game and waterfowl hunting from experts.
These scholarships are available to youth who are interested in connecting and learning more about the outdoors and all are encouraged to apply. The candidates who most qualify for the sponsorship award will meet the following criteria:
- Youth with limited outdoor experience
- Lack of a mentor to help them get started and learn about the outdoors
- Not yet having earned a Michigan Hunter Safety Certificate
- Lack of family financial resources to attend a camp like program.
Help us spread the word about this fantastic opportunity to expose new youth to the outdoors! Please visit http://www.scinovi.com/rwyc.html for an application. More information on the camp can be found at www.mucc.org under the camp and youth programs tab.
A big thank you to SCI-Novi, the Riley Foundation, and all of our clubs who sponsor campers, help maintain our facilities, volunteer their time and skills at camp, and believe in protecting our heritage for future generations to come.