Youth in North Carolina have recently been given multiple opportunities to experience hands-on outdoor related activities at U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation’s (USSA Foundation) Trailblazer Adventure Days, hosted by local Boy Scouts of America Councils and National Wild Turkey Federation chapters.
Thanks to a partnership between these organizations, Trailblazer Adventure Days have made a large footprint in the state of North Carolina over the past summer, with the most recent events happening in October.
On Oct. 20, the Central North Carolina Council of BSA held their “Gold Rush” event which featured the USSA Foundation’s Trailblazer Adventure Program.
Held at Camp John J. Barnhardt in Stanley County, the “Gold Rush” event featured the Trailblazer Adventure Program offering a weekend filled with camping and new experiences for the scouts and their families. Activities included archery, BB gun target shooting, gold panning, canoeing and a host of 81 other scout related games
Volunteer groups offered their time to introduce the youth to outdoor activities and included the Tombestone Outdoors Droptine Archery, Big Elkin Creek Waterfowl and Retriever Association, the Coast Guard Auxiliary and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.
“The event went really well and we were able to reach a lot of scouts and their families.” said Yvonne Goings, Trailblazer Local Field Director. “The time schedule was great and over 800 scouts participated.”
In attendance were 56 packs of Boy Scouts from seven counties including Anson, Cabarus, Montgomery, Richmond, Rowan, Stanly and Union. The scouts arrived on Friday, Oct. 19, to begin the weekend with a night of camping and bonfires. An early start to their day on Saturday began with a flag demonstration from the A.L. Brown High School JROTC Cadets from Kannapolis, N.C., and a 40 minute presentation on gun safety from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.
Pellet gun shooting was a popular activity with 30 youngsters trying their hand at any given time. The archery station was nearly as busy with 20 lanes of participants at a time. The scouts were given indepth firearm and archery safety lessons before being allowed to participate.
“The event was a huge hit for the kids,” said Mike Baker, Trailblazer Local Field Director. “We had a lot of positive reactions to all of the stations and everyone seemed to have a good time.”
A second Trailblazer event was held this fall in East Bend, N.C. This event was held in conjunction with the NWTF Red Clay Longbeards. The Jakes Day event featuring the Trailblazer Adventure Program was held as a walk up event and saw close to 150 participants.
Activities included pellet gun and archery shooting, hunting dog demonstrations, water boat safety instruction, and more. Groups involved in the event included the USSA Foundation, Tombestone Outdoors Droptine Archery, Big Elkin Creek Waterfowl and Retriever Association, the Coast Guard Auxiliary and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.
“The event had a lot of hunting activities for the kids to try, which was really great to see,” said Baker.
Youth in both events received a Trailblazer Adventure Patch after participating in as many activities as possible. The Trailblazer Program provided equipment for both the Boy Scouts and NWTF, and donated six Crosman 760 Pumpmaster pellet guns and 15 Eagle Claw rod/reel combos to use as door prizes for the youth.
In total, Trailblazer has held nine events this year, with the most recent on Nov. 3 in Bailey, N.C. Planning is currently under way for additional events next year.
The Trailblazer Adventure Program, a youth outdoor program of the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation and Title Sponsored by the Cabela’s Outdoor fund, held its first event in 2001, and has since reached more than 1.5 million participants. Trailblazer events are held across the country to introduce youth to outdoor activities and conservation groups. The program focuses on placing a bow, gun, and fishing rod in the hands of all participants.
Title Sponsor for the Trailblazer Adventure Program is the Cabela’s Outdoor Fund. The Cabela’s Outdoor Fund is a tax-exempt organization dedicated to the promotion of conservation and hunting, fishing, camping, boating and other outdoor sporting and recreational activities. The fund engages primarily in lobbying and advocacy for these activities. The fund is tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code, and contributions to the fund are not deductible as charitable contributions under Section 170 of the Internal Revenue Code.
For more information on the Trailblazer Adventure program, visit www.trailblazeradventure.org or call 614-888-4868 to speak to the Trailblazer staff.