CHEYENNE - Wyoming youth who would like to spend a week learning outdoor skills and participating in shooting sports, fishing, canoeing, hiking, rappelling, and other outdoor activities are reminded that the deadline to apply for the 2012 Wyoming Game and Fish Department Conservation Camp is May 18. This is a departure of the May 31 deadline of previous years.
Camp dates this year are July 29 - Aug. 3. The camp is free of charge and open to youth age 14-17. It is held at the Whiskey Mountain Wildlife Conservation Camp located near scenic Trail Lake, 10 miles southeast of Dubois.
Hunter education coordinator Jim Dawson, who also doubles as camp director, said the camp is a great bargain and a lot of fun. "Campers stay in cabins and eat in a dining hall," Dawson said. "Young men and women enjoy a week of learning outdoor skills, and conservation ethics. In addition to learning shooting and fishing skills, there is outdoor photography, canoeing, and campfire time."
Dawson said the camp is balanced with outdoor, indoor, and hands-on activities. Most of the activities are done in groups with some opportunity to work alone.
"Campers work as a team all week," says Dawson. "Campers make new friends, and learn outdoor skills that will stay with them for a lifetime."
To be eligible, students must live in Wyoming and be recommended by a teacher or youth leader. Most equipment is provided. Each camper is required to provide personal gear, including sleeping bag, hiking boots, rain gear, and cool-weather clothing. Camp size is set at 40 openings.
It's competitive to make the camp roster. Campers are selected from the quality of their letters of application, if they've applied previously, letter of reference from a youth leader or teacher, and some tie-breaking details. Typically Dawson and staff evaluate more than 100 applications for the 40 slots.
The Game and Fish has been running youth camps since 1963. The camp was hosted at the department's Johnson Creek Wildlife Area in Sybille Canyon between Laramie and Wheatland through 1985.
"We see the camp as an investment in Wyoming's upcoming generations and future resource challenges," said Dawson.
The Game and Fish will accept applications until 5 p.m. through May 18. Applications are available at Game and Fish regional offices, the department website wgfd.wyo.gov, or by calling (307) 777-4538.
(Contact: Margaret James (307) 777-4538)