Wild Child Summer Camp gets kids back outdoors

JACKSON, Tenn. — Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and 4-H partner to give 4th through 6th graders a unique wildlife experience: Wild Child Summer Camp.

“We all grew up in the outdoors hunting and fishing, and we don’t see that as often as we should in today’s world,” said Amy Spencer, outreach and communications for TWRA. “So we wanted to do something to introduce the kids to get back outside. It’s great to see the kids that are a little reluctant at first, they might not want to try something, and then they’re doing it and they’re loving it.”

“Whenever I shot it, I got all four for my first time, and I was very excited,” said second-year camper Skylar Stanfield.

The kids receive basic introduction to boating safety, hunting safety, fishing, archery, and shooting.

Scott Reese with 4-H says they take away a lot of important information.

“Conservation of the land and the resources that we have, cannot continue if we don’t do some education,” Reese said. “And we’ve learned through these camps, we see a lot of kids who have a misunderstanding of how we manage conservation. So a lot of the things that they’re learning is, you know, for example, how to manage a campfire so that we don’t burn the forest down, how to manage a fishing pond by taking the appropriate number of fish out so that the fish don’t die of starvation.”

Plus, the counselors and kids leave camp with a new hobby and newfound appreciation of wildlife.

“Some of these kids have been fishing before, but they never shot a bow, and then all of a sudden they go home after a Wild Child and they say, ‘You know what? I’d like to get in an archery club,'” Reese said.

“Just these three days I’ve realized like I have a lot other hobbies and just playing football or just video games or just sports anything so it really opened my eyes to a lot and what I want to do like outside of football and football is over,” said camp counselor Caleb Willis.

Amy Spencer with TWRA says their main goal is to get more kids outdoors and do things that involve fishing and hunting.

“It is a good camp if you want to like learn how to fish and shoot, and hunter safety and gun safety. And it’s just like fun for everybody,” said first-year camper Trace Hayes.

“I love it. I love it. I want to go out and do it again like right now, every weekend, so everything we did was amazing,” Willis said. “Everything was just great structure, just organized and great for the kids, and I know I had a blast, I know they had a blast.”

For more TWRA and 4-H summer events, click here and here.

For more news in the Jackson area, click here.

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