Last week my youngest boy and I were able to attend the Texas Brigade Waterfowl camp. I was a huge fan of Brigades before, but even more now!
These camps (there are 8) are all over the state of Texas. First, they are leadership camps, second they are conservation camps. I have loved these camps for 3 years, since my oldest attended his first : Rolling Plains Bob White Brigade.
Each camp is 5 days, and yes you drop off and normally go home. Your son or daughter are there with a committee of leaders who are fully investing in training and mentoring them. The leaders are amazing and some of the best in their fields.
The structure for the camp is that there are small groups of 5-6 cadets (first time camp attenders), led by a Assistant Leader (a returning cadet) and an adult. For Waterfowl, the groups are flocks, Bob White the groups are coveys, Buckskin the groups are herds, and so on. I was honored to be a flock leader for 5 cadets this past week.
There were so many amazing parts of my week (despite the lack of sleep, too much food, and hormonal teenagers). I thoroughly loved getting to know my flock members and watching them transform throughout the week. They bonded together, encouraged each other and each were pushed well outside their comfort zones.
My very favorite part was watching my most challenging child become a young man. I tried not to be too close or in his space. I wanted him to find himself with his own group. He did. He was not under the shadow of his older brothers here, since no one really knew them, they were meeting him. He figured out what he was good at (Plant ID for one) and he did an amazing job. He was one of the first youth to try to give his silver bullet, and kept at it until he earned the coveted trophy : his paracord necklace with a waterfowl band on it.
He did not shy away from anything (that I saw) the whole week. Over everything, I delighted in seeing him come into his own.
Since we have been home he has written a thank you note that far surpassed anything he has ever written! I asked him once to write it, and he did without another request. The note was to the person who taught the majority of the plants, since he won a book for scoring the best on the plant ID test.
Next, I asked him if he wanted to make a video to talk about his experiences and what he brought him – the next thing I knew he had his stuff out and was practicing.
Did this camp change him? So far yes. So far I see a young man in the place my boy was before last week.
The boys will be sharing their experiences in upcoming posts, this summer someone attended Bob White, Bass, Waterfowl and Buckskin, so there will be lots of insight in the weeks to come!!