TU Tri-State Youth Camp gearing up for 9th year

Launched eight years ago by the Virginia, Maryland/DC, and West Virginia TU Councils, the TU Tri-State Youth Camp is preparing to hold its 9th annual session this summer on June 23-28.  Held at Graves Mountain Lodge in Syria, Va., the camp is known as a leading program among the 21 youth camps conducted each summer by TU state councils across the country. While recruiting most of its campers from the tri-state region, in recent years the camp has attracted campers from as far away as Alaska.

Camp Director Paul Kearney says that more than 20 campers have gone on to pursue a career in environmental sciences, which they attribute in part to their camp experience. Evaluations have shown that “nearly all youth who attend the camp indicate that it gave them a greater understanding of the importance of the TU mission of conservation, and the motivation to both protect our natural resources and continue to fish and enjoy the outdoors,” Kearney adds.

Tri-State Camp Board Chair, George Gaines, says that TU chapters and other fishing and conservation organizations can support the camp by recruiting campers and raising funds. Local chapters and groups are encouraged to recruit high school student campers, both girls and boys, ages 13 to 17, who are interested in the outdoors, conservation, and learning to fish or improving their angling skills.  They can go to the Tri-State Camp website, www.tucamp.org, to apply.

Kearney notes, “Camp is filling up rapidly again this year, but we are always looking for campers and are delighted when chapters recruit students from their areas who get involved with their chapter after attending the camp.”

The $800 camper fee for the six-day, five-night camp is all-inclusive and covers lodging, food, and all equipment and program costs for the week.  Because the camp is committed to making it possible for all interested campers to attend, regardless of ability to pay the fee, it provides partial and full financial support to any camper needing it. Over its eight years of operation, an average of about half of its campers each year have received camp funding. Local chapters can help by making donations, as well.

“Our Tri-State Camp staff volunteers, nearly all of whom have volunteered for several years, are excited about this year’s camp,” Gaines adds. “We invite TU members and others to join them in helping to again make this year’s camp a success.”

The Virginia Council of Trout Unlimited is made up of representatives of the state’s 16 TU chapters.