The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is sponsoring two summer day camps for children 12 to 16 years old at the Waddill Outdoor Education Center in Baton Rouge this summer.
The camps will be held from June 24-28 and again from July 15-19. Each camp is completely free of charge and will allow participants to receive their official boater and hunter education certifications.
LDWF will also offer a fish identification class, fishing and canoeing in the ponds at the Waddill Outdoor Education Center, skeet shooting, and other outdoor related classes and activities.
“These camps provide a lot of time for learning classroom material that the children then get a chance to utilize with hands on activities immediately outside later that same day,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham. “For a week, parents have the chance to let their kids become sportsmen and women in a safe, supervised environment.”
LDWF is providing a daily lunch free of charge for the five-day summer camps. Cabela’s in Gonzales also donated rod and reel combos for each child that they can take home at the end of the camp. The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation and the Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana are each providing two lifetime hunting and fishing combo licenses that will be given to four of the participants.
The camps are open to 25 children per camp who have not completed a boater or hunter education certificate.
To register for the camps, parents must fill out the online application located at www.wlf.louisiana.gov/summerdaycamp by May 31. Parents must fill out a separate application for each child they wish to register and may only register their child for one of the camps.
Since the main goal of these camps is to introduce and teach kids about the outdoors, LDWF will choose the 25 kids for each camp based on the child’s lack of experience with fishing, boating and hunting. LDWF will notify parents by either email or phone if their child has been selected for the camps.
“We want to teach children how much fun and exciting it can be by spending time outside enjoying all that Louisiana has to offer,” said Secretary Barham. “These camps also get the kids out of the house away from their video games and computers for a week during their summer break. They will catch some fish, paddle canoes and shoot skeet and for some this might be their first time ever doing any of these activities.”
Parents with children that have been selected for either camp, must drop off their child at the Waddill Outdoor Education Center located at 4142 North Flannery Rd., Baton Rouge, LA 70814 between 7 and 8 a.m., and then pick their child up between 4 and 5 p.m. each day. Attendance every day of the week is mandatory in order to receive the boating and hunting education certifications.
The boating education course is mandatory for anybody born after Jan. 1, 1984 and proof of completion of the course is necessary to operate a motorboat in excess of 10 horsepower. The course includes information on choosing a boat, classification, hulls, motors, legal requirements and equipment requirements. The course also covers many navigation rules and charts, trailering, sailboats, canoeing, personal watercraft and more. Completion of the course will result in the student being issued a vessel operators certification card.
The hunter education course is mandatory for anyone born on or after Sept. 1, 1969, who plans on purchasing a hunting license. The hunter education curriculum includes sections on ethics and responsibility, wildlife management, firearms and ammunition, safety in the field, wildlife identification and wildlife conservation. The major objectives of the hunter education programs are to reduce the number of hunting accidents, improve the image of hunting through ethical and responsible conduct and promote the shooting sports.