I first became acquainted with the Scooters Youth Hunting Camp back in 2004 or 2005. My wife came home from school one day and told me that she’d signed up two kids in her school in some kind of youth hunting camp named Scooters Youth Hunting Camp and that I had to take them to it. What! The camp is held the first Saturday in May every year. That is right in the middle of primo bear and whistle pig hunting and crappie fishing … and turkey hunting … and morel mushroom picking seasons!
I don’t want to sound self-centered but I was stuck no matter how much I whined. So, I dutifully took the two young boys. Little did I know that I would end up liking the camp better than they did. In fact, I’ve been a volunteer ever since. And the two young boys have grown up to be good young men and I later got to take them both on their first deer hunt.
I conduct 40 to 60 outdoor seminars/speaking engagements per year all the way from Texas to Alaska. I had five in Vegas in January alone and yet the SYHC is the coolest deal that I do all year. Scott McGann originally did it to help single moms. But he couldn’t deny kids with two parents to come but his heart was originally to help single mom’s in getting their kids in the outdoors to help them stay out of trouble.
In the beginning, kids mailed in applications and all were accepted. I think in those days we had about 140 kids. Finally, it kept growing until we had to hire someone to do a call-in registration. Last year it filled up with 250 kids in 47 seconds. It is the coolest deal in the world.
Here’s the format: The kids show up and sign in and are divided into six groups. To begin, we meet and say the Pledge of Allegiance, a local pastor says a prayer and then group one goes to the first station, group two to the second one and so on. There are six stations.
• TRAP SHOOTING
• BLACKPOWDER RANGE
• ARCHERY RANGE
• SURVIVAL RANGE
• GUN CLEANING/KNIFE SHARPENING
After 45 minutes all groups reconvene in the meeting area and a seminar is put on by a pro staff member. They are great seminars and I always learn a lot at them. When the seminar is over, the kids rotate to their next station.
At lunch time, we break and eat lunch that has been prepared by a group of volunteers. What makes the camp really cool is that, due to generous local businesses, the food and snacks are all donated and cooked by volunteers so they eat for free. After lunch the kids rotate to their next station.
After the kids have hit all of the stations they reconvene in the meeting area for Scott’s favorite event The kid’s drawing. Due to local businesses and major companies donating items every kid draws a gift. And I meant nice gifts. Companies and local businesses are over-the-top generous. Companies like Knives of Alaska, Smith’s Consumer Products, Spyderco, Swab-its, Otis, Umarex Airguns, Swab-its and the list goes on and on.
All of the kids get to go free due to the generosity of local and national businesses and volunteer help. Where the heck was the SYHC at when I was a kid!!!
Here are a few general rules but check the website below to ensure that you don’t miss the registration!
• Registration opens April 1, 2022, at 10 a.m.
• Kids must be 9 to 16 years old
• Camp will be held rain or shine. Nothing short of the rapture will stop the camp from occurring.
• The camp will be photographed by various media sources. If you do not want your kid filmed, then DO NOT attend.
It will take place in Emmett at the Gem County Rod and Gun Club.
(Ok, I hate to be juvenile but, here’s the highlight for me. HeBrews coffee in Emmett sets up a donut trailer at start-up. Let’s just say, I eat more than my fair share of sugar/cinnamon donuts).
Go to the website to register: scootersyouth hunting.camp.
Tom Claycomb lives in Idaho and has outdoors columns in newspapers in Alaska, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Colorado and Louisiana. He also writes for various outdoors magazines and teaches outdoors seminars at stores like Cabela’s, Sportsman’s Warehouse and Bass Pro Shop. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.