FWC teaches children how to fish at summer camps
As I See It
Monday, July 12, 2010
The children of this state are the future of
hunting and fishing. They are the ones who will become the next
generation of sportsmen and continue the traditions we enjoy
To make sure these kids are introduced to fishing,
the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is
holding summer fishing camps that will teach students how to be
During these camps, the children go through a
series of biology lessons that include the scientific procedures of
fish dissection, how to determine the age of fish as well as
scaling, skinning and filleting their catch. They learn fish facts
that include fish identification, distinguishing characteristics,
habitats, feeding preferences and bag limits.
Rod and reel assembly, cane pole use, tackle types,
knot-tying, bait selections for specific species of fish, and
catch-and-release techniques round out the fishing lessons. The
students also receive boating safety information and get a tackle
box of their own, which they use when they are taught how to fish
from the bank and a boat.
The FWC surveys each camper before and after the
program. All parents have agreed to have their child participate in
this study, which includes revisiting the child throughout the year
as part of efforts to document again that children who go through
this program have increased self-esteem and made better grades in
One thing I want to emphasize here is that hunters
and anglers helped pay for these fishing camps when they purchased
their fishing and hunting licenses. Everyone who purchases a
license has the opportunity to donate for the purpose of developing
I am very proud of our dedicated staff who are
making this happen, but the credit belongs to all the hunters and
anglers who contributed. They are investing in the future of
wildlife and fisheries conservation.
Unfortunately, many people don't know about this
program. I've spoken to people who admitted they declined to donate
because they didn't believe the money would be spent on youth
programs. Folks agree that if they had known programs like ours
would receive the money, they would have given.
These donated dollars are going to good use. Eight
camps were held in June. Here are the dates and locations of the
- July 19-23 and July 26-30 - Beau Turner Youth Conservation
Center (BTYCC) in Monticello.
- July 26-30 - Oldsmar, City of Oldsmar Parks and
- July 26-30 and Aug. 9-13 - Ocala/Horseshoe Lake, Marion County
Parks & Recreation.
There are spots available for campers at the BTYCC
camps. The Oldsmar and Ocala camps have been filled.
For the $200 registration fee, kids between 9 and
15 years old get a week at the day camp, a rod and reel and a
tackle box loaded with the things they'll need to get started. To
sign your child up for one of the camp sessions, call Rae Waddell
To help support the camps, just say "yes" when a
license vendor asks if you'd like to donate $5 to the FWC's youth
Let's make sure that our future fishermen get the
chance to learn their craft.