Bass Brigades, by Jacob

My son Jacob wanted to share about his Brigade experiences.  I can attest to the changes this camp has had in my son’s behavior and maturity!  I highly recommend these camps – they are amazing!  Now, here is what he has to say:

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The Texas Brigades is a wildlife conservation camp, where they teach the cadets leadership skills like public speaking, team building, and how to perform interviews.  At the same time they are also teaching them about wildlife habitat, animal biology, habitat management, and everything in between. There are six different brigades : Bobwhite, Buckskin, Bass, Ranch, Waterfowl, and new this year is Coastal. I have been to Bobwhite which focuses on quail, and recently attended Bass Brigade which focuses on freshwater fish. Each camp focuses on different plants, trees, animals, and habitats and I learned something different at each camp.

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Last year was my first year to attend a brigade camp, and I went to Bobwhite as a cadet. Prior to this camp I knew next to nothing about a bobwhite quail. Over the course of a week, I learned all about radio telemetry (tracking animals), habitat needs for quail, firearm safety, and much more.  Some of the activities that they had was a mock stake holder meeting, where each group was assigned a viewpoint to represent and then present their viewpoint in front of a board of representatives; and while at the camp, each cadet designed and assembled a trifold for presentations. I especially enjoyed media training, where we practiced giving radio and television interviews.

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While at camp, they told us that we could return as assistant group leaders. The requirement was that you went out into the public and educated people, whether that was thru a speech, or a trifold presentation. To help encourage the cadets to get out and educate, they had an early bird hunt, where if I did ten things before November 1, then I would get a free hunt. I was determined to return to camp, so I completed as many things as I could. I earned the early bird hunt in November, and was able to return to Bobwhite Brigade camp this year.

At camp they have three positions for the youth to perform, cadet, assistant group leader, and special agent. I was a special agent, so my job was to help the whole camp out in any way I could. I helped fill water coolers, run errands, helped cadets work on projects, scored quizzes, and help with the trivia contests. Since I was returning to help out, I attended the camp for free, and I received a scholarship while there. I loved getting to meet new people, and make new friends.

I was especially looking forward to Bass Brigade, and was wondering how it would compare to Bobwhite Brigade. While at camp I learned about fish anatomy, habitat requirements, how to tag and track fish, different casting techniques, and how to make lures. We also practiced fish collection methods like electro-fishing, where we used electric currents to stun the fish for easy collection. I enjoyed the media training, and the stakeholder meeting as well, and it was really neat to see the differences in the camps. I hope to return next year as assistant leader.

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Through the Texas Brigades, I have become more confident and sure of myself in front of a group, and I have become a better leader and team builder as well.  If you are interested or know someone who would be you can find all of their information at www.texasbrigades.org, it has all of their contact info, as well as information on all of the camps. The fee for the camp is $500, but scholarships are available, and they encourage you to solicit some or all of your funds from your local soil and water district, wildlife committee, and local outdoor supply stores.

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