Brigades #1 by Peter

Hello I’m Peter Cole, Janelle’s favorite son. Over the past couple years you may have seen posts about the Texas brigades. Well for the next couple of weeks I am going to break down each different aspect of what Texas Brigade camps are about, why you should attend, or encourage others to, and why they are so important to the future of our world.

Sharing about Texas Brigades at a youth hunt.

 The Texas Brigades are a group of wildlife leadership intensive camps located around the state.    There are five differ wildlife subjects covered by seven different camps: Rolling plains Bobwhite Brigade, South Texas Bobwhite Brigade, North Texas Buckskin Brigade, South Texas Buckskin Brigade, Ranch Brigade, Bass Brigade, and Coastal Brigade. Have had the privilege of attending as well as returning to three different brigades over three years. 

Sharing what I learned at Texas Brigade Camps

One major focus of brigades is to teach wildlife  Each camp focuses on teaching the habitat, conservation, and anatomy of the focused wildlife. The Texas brigades motto is “Tell me I forget, show me I remember, involve me and I understand.” At camp the instructors live that out by teaching wildlife, but also by us doing what they taught.   The other focus of Texas Brigades is to teach public speaking, decision making, leadership and critical thinking.  Learning these skills at camps has helped grow me into a more determined and qualified leader.  

Teaching other youth about Wildlife Conservation, earning that scholarship and an invitation to come back as a leader to Buckskin Brigade.

At most camps one of the first activities is the anatomy. We get to dissect the animal we are learning about. The first brigade I went to was the 24th Battalion (or year) of the Rolling Plains Bobwhite Brigade, this was the camp that started the program back in 1993.  Bob White camps focus on the conservation of the quail species in Texas. We learned about their habitat, diet, and everything they need to live.  One bonus from my Bob White camp experience was earning a $2250 scholarship for college by sharing what I learned and advertising for the organization!

Receiving my scholarship at North Texas Buckskin Brigade in 2018.

In 2018, I was able to attend the 3rd battalion of the Coastal Brigade. At the Brigade we learned all about Coastal wildlife. We were able to study the anatomy of a fish, by dissecting one. We also went to a hatchery, to learn the life cycle of fish, specifically the life cycle of the red drum, the state fish of Texas. One of my favorite parts of camp is always the plants. At coastal brigade we studied the many different types of coastal plants. We learned all about the plants that directly impact the coast, and any type of coastal wildlife. 

Applications are open for a few more weeks at www.texasbrigades.org.  Youth agers 12-18 should apply now!

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Texas Brigades Supports Leadership and Conservation

– by Jacob Cole

Natural Resources are vital to the well-being of everyone, regardless of what they believe. From clothing and the food they eat, to the home that they live in, nearly every product can be traced back to a natural origin. Many people aren’t aware of this, especially the majority of today’s teenagers. Texas Brigades is trying to remedy this by educating teenagers about the importance of wildlife conservation.

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Texas Brigades was founded by a man who had a passion for education. In 1993, Dr. Dale Rollins founded the first summer camp, Rolling Plains Bobwhite Brigade. Intending to educate teenagers about wildlife conservation and ethics, Texas Brigades also equips those teens to be better public speakers, leaders, and critical thinkers. Since 1993, additional camps and programs have been formed by volunteers with Texas Brigades, who share Dr. Rollins’ dream. Whether interested in freshwater fish, deer, quail, livestock, or marine life, there is a Texas Brigades Summer Camp for everyone.

Over the past four years, I have attended many of the different summer camps offered by Texas Brigades, learning about habitat management, wildlife biology, and many other subjects. The reason that I believe Texas Brigades is so successful is simple: their motto is, “Tell me and I forget, show me and I remember, involve me and I understand.” Throughout the weeklong camps, the cadets get to participate in nearly every exercise mentioned at camp, from electro-fishing to participating in a helicopter demonstration; we participate in techniques that real wildlife biologists and managers use.

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Texas Brigades’ vision is “Conservation leaders in every community.” The way that they encourage cadets to share their experiences is to offer some great incentives. If cadets report ten outreach activities within 4 months of attending camp, they are eligible for an “early bird” trip that corresponds to the Texas Brigades Summer Camp they attended. For example, the cadets of North Texas Buckskin Brigade get to go on a deer hunting trip, and the cadets of Bass Brigade get to go on a fishing trip. Outreach activities include speeches, presenting tri-fold displays, attending or assisting with workshops, and other advocacy opportunities. After “early bird” submissions, cadets should continue to speak to their community about conservation and how camp inspired them. These activities along with the “early bird” activities give way to other Texas Brigades incentives; college scholarships and opportunities to be leaders among your peers. With the submission of an application and Book of Accomplishments (record book), cadets who did the most quality activities are invited back as Assistant Leaders to help the team with the next year’s camp. College scholarships are awarded to many of these leaders each year.

If you are reading all of this and you are thinking that it seems like something you would be interested in, then I encourage you to visit the Texas Brigades website at www.texasbrigades.org. I have grown as a leader because of this organization’s Summer Camps Program, and I have really fallen in love with learning about our natural resources and how they impact me.