Hey, it’s Maya the intern again, here to talk about fishing camp. It was my first day of work when I first heard about fishing camp in all of its glory. It was Levi’s first time organizing fishing camp, too, so we both were not quite sure what to expect. We started going into full speed planning mode at La Parota’s with Greg, Terry, Linda, and Tamara to learn about all the logistics and details that go into a successful camp.
I was amazed at all the coordination that goes on behind the scenes. First there is the money: Where are our sources of funding? At what point do teens need to pay? Then, there are the activities: Is there too much fishing or not enough? Do we have enough skilled volunteers to go over all the lessons? Is there enough downtime and how structured should it be? How should we group them? Which cabins do they stay in? All of these questions we answered in the meeting and more.
Over the next month, I watched as Levi executed all of the plans, delegating some of the more fun jobs to me. I got to make the gift bags, the nametags, and create fish jeopardy. I also learned how many groups, like the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF), donate so much to the cause. I’ve never seen so much tackle or fishing line in my life!
Before I knew it, the kids were arriving. Fishing camp was here. All the planning (and stressing) put to the test. We started off with a fun casting challenge. We paired up the more experienced fishermen and women with the new ones to help teach using land fish. Once everyone was here, we had the fishing rodeo, which helped us form groups with a mixed range of skills (and attitudes). They had a few classes, some dinner, and were put to bed by the teens.
The next day was fishing, fishing, fishing, fishing, and finding natural bait. We had 5 rotations, each with teens and adults to help teach and shuffle them from place to place. I got to teach natural bait, so I didn’t see the fishing. However, I did see many minnows, salamanders, macro-invertebrates, and more caught by each of the campers. I loved the small class sizes that helped me work with and teach every camper. After dinner, a casting contest, bedtime, breakfast, some thank you notes, and a few more activities, fishing camp had come to a close. All the parents had arrived to see the awards the campers received and take them back. We had done it!
All in all, I think my favorite parts of fishing camp ended up being the planning, hanging out with the teens and campers, and getting a better understanding of how camp works, even if it was just a weekend camp. The teens did such a great job handling the campers and I love the teen leader model 4-H uses. As hard and stressful as it was at some parts, I did love fishing camp and I hope to be back next year.
~Maya, NRE Intern