Hello, I’m Janelle’s son.
I am writing about an exciting experience for teens age 13-17 called the Texas Brigades. The Texas Brigades is a program that is run partially by the state, and mostly by individuals who want to pass the outdoors legacy on to the next generation.
There are six different camps: the bobwhite, buckskin, waterfowl, bass, ranch, and now the coastal Brigade. The camps are held all over the state, but are open to residents from other states as well. We had one cadet who was from Kansas! As I learned about wildlife, I learned about leadership, public speaking, and team building.
This summer I attended the Rolling Planes Bobwhite Brigade, and I learned about quail. I was one of about 30-35 cadets, both boys and girls. We were split into groups or “coveys” as they were called of six.
Some of my favorite parts were embryology where we studied the eggs, and the mock court where my covey along with the others had to present our case.
The week flew by, and I loved every minute of it. We learned about habitat management, the needs of wild quail, and how to hunt safely (reenactment only).
But I also learned about educating the public on the needs of quail.
Throughout the week I received assignments such as thank you letters to sponsors, learning how to conduct a live TV or radio interview, and how to give a power point presentation.
Every cadet was assigned a quote called a silver bullet. These were short, famous quotes that we had to memorize, and then present them in the front of the class. There were ways of encouraging some people who were shy, but by Tuesday everyone had said theirs. This camp did some amazing things for some people like increase their confidence in themselves, and in their public speaking abilities.
There are incentives for giving demonstrations, writing articles, and recruiting new cadets. If you complete enough and if you complete enough they will allow you to participate in a sponsored hunt.
But it was not all about sitting in a classroom, and learning how to speak. We were outside learning about cover plants, food plants, predators, dummy nests, habitat evaluation and more.
We got to do things that wildlife biologists do, such as track a quail with radio telemetry and study the seeds quail were eating.
The work was constant, but never too hard. We also had some fun too. We had a water balloon fight, and we all had nicknames given to us by Dr. Dale Rollins, or “Dale the quail”, the driving force of the bobwhite brigade. He started the program years ago, and it has grown since then.
So in conclusion I would like to encourage teens 13 to 17 who are passionate about wildlife and the outdoors, you can click here to go to their website. There is more info there and applications are available online. You will come home a different person. The fee is $500 and that covers the whole thing. They encourage you to ask for donations from your local businesses. I wrote a letter asking for donations that I would work for. There are also scholarships available. They don’t want money to stop you. I hope to see you there next year.