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Outdoor Adventure Camp Teaches Young People Outdoor Skills

PRATT – Each summer, volunteers gather at the Rock Springs 4-H Center near Junction City to introduce 10-, 11- and 12-year-olds to the Kansas outdoors. The Kansas Wildlife Federation started the Outdoor Adventure Camp in the 1980s, and the 2017 camp, scheduled for June 4-9, will mark its 30th anniversary. It’s a remarkable accomplishment, and an admirable legacy for all those who’ve been involved. It’s also left thousands of youngsters with indelible outdoor memories and perhaps skills they’ll enjoy the rest of their lives.

The six-day summer camp is for kids who are curious about the outdoors and want to learn more about it. Boys and girls, ages 10-12, will spend mornings exploring the grounds at Rock Springs with instructors. Afternoons will be spent learning about birds of prey, skins and skulls, bats, streams, and more general topics, including ecology, wetlands, riparian areas, and watersheds. Instructors from the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, Kansas State University, the Natural Resource Conservation Service, county conservation districts, the Riley County Fish and Game Association, 4-H clubs, and other organizations will be on hand.

The camp provides an outdoor experience just short of camping in a tent. Campers sleep in screened-in bunkhouses. But it’s not truly primitive; the swimming pool and dining hall are the main hubs of activity during free time.

After dark, participants may prowl for owls, star gaze, or watch bats hunt bugs. Evening swims will be followed by campfire stories and snacks. One evening will feature a friendly fishing competition.

Other activities include scavenger hunts; swimming and canoeing; fishing; rifle, shotgun, muzzleloader, archery, and pellet gun shooting; arts and crafts; and horseback riding. A trip to the Milford Nature Center and Fish Hatchery will occupy one day.

Campers need a swimsuit, sleeping gear, and clothes for a week. Sunscreen, insect repellent, a cap, a fishing pole, and a water bottle are also recommended. Food, instruction, and lodging are all included in the $325 price of the six-day camp. Scholarship may be available. Space is limited to 50 youngsters. For more information or to reserve a spot, contact Tommy or Theresa Berger, 785-524-6112, 785-526-7466, or email at bergkwf@wtciweb.com