I perused the festival taking in all I could, spending some money on a few things that would probably end up in my garage collecting dust.
I was listening to an old timer talk about a decoy on his table that he had hunted over for a good part of his life. He was passionate in his detailed description of days gone by spent hunting. He caused me to reflect on my own time spent outdoors fishing and hunting.
At 52 I have spent 40 years baiting a hook of some type. I will save those details for another day, but as I looked around I realized that something was wrong with this picture.
There were no young people! There were the old guard happy to share a story and plenty of middle age’rs running around in Camo. But no young people!
Technology has stolen the next generation and robbed them of the outdoor adventures that we had as children. They are glued to a screen of one type or another Living in a make believe world of cartoon warfare or fantasy sports. Back in the day we were exploring through the woods (an undeveloped lot on our block). Having dirt bomb fights or stealing Pillsbury biscuit dough rolls out of our refrigerator to fish for Karp in a local lake. Our bicycles took us everywhere there was Water to fish.
For most kids there was someone that ignited a spark in them for the outdoors. A parent, a sibling, a friend or a neighbor.
Can you even imagine a kid today, riding his bike to the library after school to look at pictures and read all the books he could find on fishing or gunning?
Not too long ago for most of us to remember, all the stores and hang outs were closed on Sundays. As young people we knew that day we would be with family or friends in some capacity. Being influenced in one way or another. For me we would either be fishing or shooting skeet or three generations of us riding our dirt bikes through miles of the powerline trails out east before sunrise highway was extended.
There is a major challenge faced by all youth in our current time. The list is long. Youth sports alone had a lot less demands put on the parents than now. (another issue for some other time)
I have many friends and peers who have introduced their share of people, young and old to the outdoors and I applaud them. Its never too late to find something that interests you.
I challenge you all to lead a young person that you know toward the lifestyle of an Outdoor Sportsman. Make the effort. I can tell you from experience the rewards are many and the benefit of knowing that what we enjoy will live on is the true meaning of “ priceless “