Encouragement of outdoor activities good for youth

Last Saturday, hundreds of people with a passion for the great outdoors — and for helping local children — assembled within the confines of the Dowagiac Conservation Club for the 19th annual Hunter’s Rendezvous.

Visitors to the event enjoyed everything from bowls of fresh chili to rounds of cyber hunting. They also had a chance to bid on dozens of different items in a silent auction, as well as buy raffle tickets in hopes of winning a 32-inch TV, a 12-gauge shotgun or a freezer chock full of meat.

More important then the lineup of activities at the event were the intentions behind it — raising money for the club’s efforts to enrich the lives of children with a budding interest in the outdoors.

All the proceeds raised during the Hunter’s Rendezvous went toward the club’s Youth Education Fund, which pays for several different functions that benefit children living across Dowagiac and Cass County.

The primary thing the fund pays for is the hunter safety courses hosted by the conservation club several times a year. These classes are offered completely free of charge to people who register, and show participants how to safely handle firearms.

In addition, the youth fund pays for youth fishing days at the club, the distribution of wildlife education magazines to local schools, and sponsors children’s trips to the Michigan United Conservation Clubs’ annual summer camps, which teach children about canoeing, hunting, fishing and other outdoor skills.

With the abundance of lakes, forests and wildlife that call Cass County home, it makes a lot of sense to encourage local children to get out there and enjoy the sights, which is why we applaud the Dowagiac Conservation Club for their ongoing efforts to kindle the passion of the outdoors in our youth.

With more and more activities focused around keeping children glued to a TV or computer display, it’s more challenging than ever to youth off the coach. By giving these kids a chance to participate in activities centered around appreciating the natural beauty surrounding them, all free of charge, the members of the conservation club are doing their part to make sure children get some much needed fresh air.

We hope that the Conservation Club continues to invest in Cass County’s youth, and that people continue to support their efforts at future Hunter’s Rendezvous events and other fundraising efforts.

 

Opinions expressed are those of the editorial board consisting of Publisher Michael Caldwell and editors Ambrosia Neldon, Craig Haupert, Ted Yoakum and Scott Novak.

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