Ikes in Action: A Family Focus in West Virginia

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Children at a chapter event

West Virginia >> It’s always been important to the Mountaineer Chapter to offer outdoor opportunities for area youth and families. This August was a whirlwind of activities.

The chapter held our 10th annual Youth Conservation Day on August 10. Chapter members came up with the idea for this event to encourage youth to get off the couch and enjoy the great outdoors. Learning stations have included snakes, air rifle, skeet, fishing, animal and pelt identification, and animal radio tracking. The Fish Shocking and Aquatic Insect Study area is the most popular learning station. The kids are amazed to see the many types of fish and insects found in the small creek that runs along the chapter property.

Chapter and community members mixed again the following weekend at our third annual Family Camp Out. Not only was the weather perfect, you could feel the excitement in the air. We built an open campfire for everyone to roast hot dogs and marshmallows, while a big pot of homemade chili sat waiting for campers. After spending the night in their tents, guests were treated to Sunday morning breakfast at the clubhouse.

Some campers stayed through Sunday afternoon for the Youth Air Rifle Shooting Event – one of two such events the chapter holds each year. The event started with a class on firearm and range safety for everyone attending. Then youth ages 8-17 were able to spend time testing their skills.

The chapter expanded another annual event to include non-members: an Introduction to Trap and Clay course. This event was organized by chapter member Tom Roat, who held 6-week sessions on skeet shooting for the past couple of years for chapter members. A total of 12 people came to blast birds when we opened the event to the community, and we plan to continue this event with the hopes of even more people attending.

The chapter takes pride in all the events we offer for not only members but youth and adults in our area. There’s nothing more rewarding than when a child comes up and asks you when the next event will be held. It’s a good feeling, knowing we are touching the lives of so many families in our small community.

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Trish Thomason is the Mountaineer Chapter Media Chair.