Cenalta Youth Conservation Academy, which is affiliated with the Alberta Fish and Game Association, and focuses its energies on Conservation Education Today For Tomorrow; held another successful camp from July 15 to 20 with 37 youth attending at the Second Chain Lakes Site. Students were kept busy, learning about firearms safety, hunter education, archery, canoeing, orienteering, fire starting, and fly tying.
Once the students passed the firearm course they were able to participate on the range using .22-calibre small bore rifles, shotguns, and black powder.
On the lake, the youths worked on canoeing skills, and had fun doing T rescues. Some of the students were fortunate enough to watch a flyfishing demonstration with one instructor actually catching a small fish in the busy docking area of the lake.
A fish and wildlife officer came out to do a presentation, detailing his responsibilities; he went through some wildlife identification, and rules and regulations about fish and wildlife. The students were kept interested with the encounters that he and others had been involved in. He brought along a set of big horn sheep and mountain goat horns to show. The students asked lots of questions. Could there be some future wildlife officers among this group?
During camp, the youths went out on a nature walk to spot different types of plants; some being edible, some poisonous, and some having medicinal properties. That same evening, the group played a game of hunter’s education bingo, where they made their own bingo card and then played them for a chance to win one of the many prizes that were available. Little did they know we were actually using this technique to help them review for their test they were to write the next morning.
The last night of camp consisted of our firestarting competition, where this year the junior instructors were defeated by one of the youth groups (better luck next year), a game of water balloon dodgeball was played, and the evening ended with stories by the campfire.
Camp closure day, consisted of the campers and their parents enjoying a lunch together and presentations; 37 students went home with their Firearms Safety Certificate, 36 went home with their Hunter’s Education Certificate (1 had previously completed the course), Ducks Unlimited cap, Cenalta T-shirt, information on the Youth Pheasant Program, and a kit the Alberta Hunters Education Instructors Association (AHEIA) put together for all of them.