With the onset of April, our summer calendars being to fill with weddings, reunions, centennials and other celebrations and vacations. Before that calendar gets too full, you might want to look at a few opportunities that could help enhance future outdoor opportunities for your family - or yourself.
The North Dakota Wildlife Federation's Youth Conservation Camp, and the North Dakota Game and Fish Department's Becoming an Outdoors-Woman workshop, just might fit into a schedule.
I'm sure you've heard of Becoming an Outdoors-Woman or the BOW moniker associated with it. The workshop is sponsored by the Game and Fish Department and offers more than two dozen different seminars designed to enhance outdoor knowledge, skill and abilities.
Often the instructors are women and the focus is to help women gain confidence in outdoor recreation. Classes include those that teach the basics of hunting and fishing, shooting, navigation, and plants and animals. There's something for every age, ability and outdoor interest.
New classes offered this year include basic boating skills, field dressing big game, and tracking and trapping. Other classes include archery, wild back yards, basic birding, canoeing, fly-fishing, kayaking, plant identification and predator calling.
The summer BOW workshop is held in the Turtle Mountains, at Lake Metigoshe State Park, one of the more outdoorsâ places in the state.
Participants stay in dorms, and don't worry about having the needed gear as equipment is provided unless noted in the course description. An added bonus is that the University of North Dakota Professional Development for Educators has approved the workshop for one continuing education college credit upon completion, submission of an essay and the fee for credit.
Dates for the 2009 workshop are Aug. 7-9. Each session has room for 12 women so if a particular activity piques your interest, be sure to sign up early.
For youth with an interest or desire to learn outdoor skills and activities, the North Dakota Wildlife Federation's Youth Conservation Camp is Aug. 3-9 at the Triangle Y Camp, located on Lake Sakakawea near Garrison. Boys and girls ages 12-16 are welcome to attend.
This event is also cosponsored by the Game and Fish Department.
The Triangle Y Camp has trained counselors who make sure the week is enjoyable and safe. The NDWF and several other groups will have volunteers on hand to help make the experience the best possible. All shooting sports activities are conducted by certified hunter education instructors.
I've attended and assisted with numerous kids fishing and outdoor skills day camps, and a recurring theme is that many participants come from families who already have a heritage of hunting, fishing or trapping. I'd like to suggest if you have a neighbor kid, niece, nephew, friend or coworker with an interest, encourage them to take a look at the Game and Fish Department's website at gf.nd.gov.
If the cost of the camp is a barrier, you'll be pleased to know how serious many wildlife clubs take their mission of assisting the next generation, by providing scholarships for kids to attend the youth camp, or even adults for BOW.
Indeed, when August rolls through we'll all be claiming that summer was too short, but the number of days is static. It's how we choose to use them, and these are opportunities to squeeze just a little more fun into the next few months.
And even if there is a conflict this year, unlike a centennial or class reunion, these are annual events that will be around next year if you have an interest but cannot attend in 2009.