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.


Book Review : Hope Your Heart Needs

Sitting in a comfy chair with a warm cup of tea or coffee are my ideal morning times.  They rarely exist in my reality though.  Instead its out of bed by 5:30, showered & dressed by 5:45, turning on lights in the living room and kitchen and meeting the kids at the table by 6:00 for morning devotion time.  Regardless of how my reality lines up with my ideal, the book Hope Your Heart Needs is a perfect devotion book to snuggle up with in the morning to read with your cup of hot _______(fill in the blank).


I have adored this sweet devotion book, and since my reality is a bit crazy, many nights I read a devotion before bed, allowing me to contemplate Holley’s words as I fell asleep.

Holley Gerth always writes truth.  This is my favorite thing about her, she does not say what you want to hear, or what she wants to say, she shares God’s word straight to you.  I love this book of encouraging devotions that are exactly what she says they are : reminders of how God cares for us.

As Christmas shopping season is almost here, depending on who you are, this book would make a great Christmas gift for a reader, or a Jesus lover!  It is a book full of truths, its adorable and it will inspire its reader and remind them of who they are!!

NOTE : I received a copy of Hope Your Heart Needs in exchange for an honest review from Revell Publishers.

Book Review : A Secret to Die For

Once again, Lisa Harris has knocked it out of the park with A Secret to Die For!

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Grace is a psychologist, and when one of her patients is suspiciously found dead, her peace and comfort start to unravel!

A Secret to Die For from S & L Harris on Vimeo.


As a variety of scares happens o her, she begins to think they are all related to her deceased client who thought he was being watched and followed.  Along comes Nate Quinn, a local police detective that Grace went to college with, as he investigates these crimes and crazy events, he and Grace begin to depend on one another and rebuild their friendship.

This is a super fast pasted thriller with two amazing characters who are dealing with a litany of issues from their past.  Both Grace and Nate area healing from loss, but not quite sure who to fully put their past behind them.

Lisa Harris is a great writer who digs deep into her characters and her plots, and you feel like one of the characters in her stories as you go along on the adventures!

NOTE : I received a copy of A Secret to Die For, in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review : Little Girl Crying

Belinda Rose is a woman who has been to hell and back through her Anorexia nervosa.  When I say that she has been to hell and back the first part is allegorical, she experienced the worst kinds of emotional trauma a young girl and woman can experience.  The second part, that she came back is truth.  Through her faith in God, through prayers cried out from the depths of despair, Ms. Rose made her way back to life, as normal as we can expect.

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Anorexia is something just about everyone understands, on some level, today.  We have seen movies or heard about it in the news enough to know it is a disorder, mental and physical.  But when Ms. Rose was a girl, this was not something widely understood or recognized.

Little Girl Crying is a detailed account of her story.  She goes into a great deal of detail to make the reader see her struggle almost first hand.  She takes the reader on a journey where she found herself again, and knew who she was in God’s eyes.  

This would be a good book to read to understand the thought process behind someone who is struggling with self image issues or even as far as anorexia.

NOTE : I received a complimentary copy of Little Girl Crying in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review : Young Whit

Did you curl up next to the radio about 7:30 listening to Adventures in Odyssey when you were a kid?  Did your kids?

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Well, I didn’t but my children certainly did!!  We loved and still love John Avery Whittaker and the whole cast in Adventures in Odyssey.  My boys would wake up on Saturdays to listen on an obscure radio channel they found through trial and error!  We bought cassettes, then CDs with the stories so we could listen, at will, in the car while traveling the US.

Young Whit is a love, by Phil Lollar and David Arnold, and this book goes back to the main character John Avery Whittaker and introduces us to the boy.  It is his history.  It gives us insight into the back story of the lovable man who helps point everyone to Jesus and loves them unconditionally.  His patient demeanor and his big heart win everyone over!

Meeting John as a boy, when he first moves to Provenance, North Carolina, is a charming experience.  Walking through his adolescence, 6th grade year, and seeing how he meets new friends, makes a few “enemies” and figures out his way helps the reader see a little of themselves and their friends in him.  If you have never moved, and therefore never been the new kid you see this experience through John’s eyes.  If you have been, you can totally relate to his story!

I really loved this story.  I read it to Anna the past few weeks and we both wanted to keep going to get to the next part!  It was well written and a great story for all of our kids to get Whit’s backs story!

I HIGHLY recommend this book, since I would recommend ANYTHING Adventures in Odyssey.  These books help connect with kids going through the tough years of life and help them figure out just who they are, and whose!

NOTE: I received a complimentary copy of Young Whit in exchange for an honest review.