(Editor’s note: This story was first published on June 30, 2021.)
If you have children or grandchildren who want to learn how to fish and hunt but you know nothing about those activities, here’s an event you should know about.
“The concept is to get the youth and the family excited to come outside and do stuff like this. Our motto is: No kid left inside,” said Kevin Borst, Youth Activities Coordinator for the Bend Chapter of Oregon Hunters Association.
We followed 9-year Iris Hansen, and her neighbor, 9-year old Jacob Smith as they explored the exhibits at Youth and Family Day.
They were excited and animated at some exhibits; focused and quiet at others.
And full of witty observations.
“We like to get them away from the electronics for at least a day. Get them outside and explore some of these outdoor activities that some people may have forgotten or they’re just not sure,” Borst said. “This is an opportunity to learn different things, see different things, meet different people.”
This is a hands-on event where kids get to see and touch things most have have never seen or had the opportunity to try.
Turns out Iris is a dead eye target shooter. And Jacob is a budding carpenter.
“I think it’s important to get younger kids involved in this stuff. A lot of them need an outlet or a source to do it. This is a good source to do it. We’ve been approached by a few single moms that say ‘I have kids that want to do outdoor activities or learn to hunt.’ This is perfect. Get their feet wet, see what they like. See what they want to pursue,” Borst said
“Great event,” said Jon Hansen, Iris’s father. “Lots of cool stuff for them to do. Lot of new things to experience. New stuff to learn about.”
This was Hansen’s first time attending Youth & Family day with his daughter and neighbor.
He was impressed.
“It’s a good way to get out and appreciate the outdoors. Learn about the importance of hunting and fishing.”
There are activities for all ages, from decorating a corn snake to seeing a mountain man shoot a muzzle loader. And it concludes with a barbecue lunch that interests everyone.
The next youth-friendly event is a guided upland bird hunt for kids ages 10-17 in November. You must be a member of the Bend chapter of the Oregon Hunters Association to participate in that event.
“If I could just get Iris to fly fish. She’s not a fan, yet. We are working on it,” Jon Hanson said.
To which his daughter Iris quickly responded: “Bait fishing rules.”
“It’s a point of contention,” Hansen admitted.