REPUBLIC - Kids from around the western and central Upper Peninsula got a glimpse of the future this month during a youth archery event at Chief Lake Wilderness Youth Camp.
Though the camp, on Republic's Chief Lake, is not slated to open until the middle of the summer of 2012, camp administrators are using the intervening months to showcase future camp activities.
"It's a wilderness education facility to reintroduce youth to the outdoors and all of the wonders it has and all of the possibilities for taking that on into a career path," said camp CLWYC co-founder Steve Nesbitt. "There will be a focus on instilling knowledge, respect, self-esteem and a total appreciation for the outdoors and all it has to offer."
Kids from around the western and central Upper Peninsula participated in a recent youth archery event at Chief Lake
Wilderness Youth Camp near Republic.
Nesbitt said he was pleased with the interest the camp has received and he estimated that more than 50 kids from around the Upper Peninsula turned out for the archery event, which took place Aug. 6 and 7.
Though the event was not a competition, the highlight of the weekend may have come from 12-year-old Lincoln Pettibone. He did his best Robin Hood impression Saturday when an arrow he fired struck and broke an arrow from a previous shot.
But the weekend got even better for Pettibone, who is from Iron Mountain. The next day, he received a call informing him that he had won the event's door prize, a Darton Ranger II archery set.
"I was excited," said Pettibone, who has been shooting a bow for about two years. "When they called, I jumped out of my chair and I just freaked out."
As part of the prize, Pettibone will also receive a fitting and an introductory archery lesson from Straight Line Archery in Ishpeming.
His father, John Pettibone, was more than pleased with the family's brief experience at CLWYC.
"I've been to so many camps, and once it gets up and running that place is going to be beautiful," said Pettibone, who placed his name on a volunteer list at the camp.
In addition to the archery event, Nesbitt said he is planning an introduction to fishing event in September and a survival camping event this winter. The hope is to gain the attention of kids - and parents - from around the U.P. prior to the camp's official opening.
"We currently own about 83 acres, with the option of picking up about 600 acres," Nesbitt said. "On that 600 acres, we've got forests, fishing ponds, lakes, trails, habitats. We've got everything we need."
The camp staff has recently adopted a new motto: No Child Left Indoors. During the summer, the camp will offer programs of differing lengths for interested youth, with sessions focusing on a number of outdoor activities, from hiking and camping to fishing and boating.
In the off-season - when kids go back to school - CLWYC will offer weekend trips and a number of family options, and Nesbitt hopes to begin a program for senior citizens, as well.
The camp staff recently started soliciting sponsorships - pledges to fund camp visits for underprivileged children - from area businesses and residents. To this point, he said, CLWYC has received pledges from 40 different sources.
Anyone interested in volunteering at or attending the camp can visit www.chieflakewildernessyouthcamp.org or call 906-376-2174.
Kyle Whitney can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. His email address is kwhitney@miningjournal. net.