Kid Updates

{If you don’t want to hear all about the adventures of my kids, please feel free to skip}

Lately it seems like continues to hold me captive with busyness!!  The kids have been super busy, in a good way, but we are looking forward to a few weeks of no contests, interviews, etc!  Maybe we will stay home and get some real schooling done!!

Jacob and Peter continue to spend a lot of time advertising for Texas Brigades – trying to earn their way back as a leader to the camps next summer, earn some scholarship money, and earn an early-bird hunt!!

IMG_5543So we have been running around from the Wildlife Committee’s Fall Rendezvous, the Fish Hatchery, 4H clubs, and more that I am certainly forgetting!

Each time they do this they share their Brigade experiences and encourage other youths to apply.  This is an amazing program and you can read more about it on Jacob’s blog post, Peter’s blog post, or my post.

4H has kept us running too.

IMG_5506The kids did Plant ID at TVCC, then at the East Texas State Fair.

IMG_5696Then we did Livestock Judging at the State Fair of Texas, followed by the Interview competition there as well.


All have been great competitions and great experience!

Peter brought home 2 ribbons from the East Texas State Fair for photography entries!


Peter also bought a goat with Calf Scramble money from Henderson County.  His first show the East Texas State Fair – we have a long way to go, but we like Harvey (after the hurricane) and look forward to a great season of showing with him!!


Jacob earned the Gold Star award through 4H


Meanwhile Anna has gotten back to sewing.

IMG_4353 She completed her first quilt over the summer, and it working on some table runners for Christmas presents now!

IMG_4387Her Dudds to dazzle team met for their first practice too and they are excited about this year!!




Peter put the first batch of meat in the freezer with this sweet 100+ pound doe from a hunt in Kerens.


And of course, while there share about Brigades!!

IMG_1213And there we are, a few updates of the boys.  It’s been a busy few weeks, and we are excited for cooler temps and a reason to stay in a relax a little!!

Brigades (by Peter)

Buck-ees 2 007This is Peter Cole and I recently attended a leadership/conservation camp called the North Texas Buckskin Brigade.

Buckskin Brigade Logo

There are eight different Brigades around the state: Rolling Plains Bobwhite, South Texas Bobwhite, North Texas Buckskin, South Texas Buckskin, Coastal, Bass, Waterfowl, and Ranch. Each brigade focuses on a different subject of Texas wildlife, their needs in a habitat, and their anatomy. They also teach leadership skills, how to be a better public speaker, and how to work together with a team.
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For the past two years I have attended the Texas Brigades. When I turned thirteen I started by going to the Bobwhite Brigade. This year I was able to attend the North Texas Buckskin Brigade, and went back to the Bobwhite brigade in  a leadership position. One thing that is stressed at brigades, other than wildlife, is public speaking.

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At every brigade there are four main ways that we learn public speaking. By power point presentations, silver bullets, mock radio, and TV interviews. Today I will write about the first two.

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The first way they teach public speaking is by assigning all of the groups a power point presentation. The presentation has a slide for every single thing that we learn while at the camp. Each cadet gets to pick two slides, so they present on something that they liked to learn. On the last day each group gives their presentation, and each presentation is judged to help determine the top group.

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The Silver bullet is another way that they teach public speaking. The very first day Every cadet, Assistant leader, and group leader is assigned a silver bullet. A silver bullet is a inspirational quote that is sometimes by a famous person. The individual gets up, introduces themselves, and says their silver bullet. They finish by saying what it means to them, and giving their best war cry. The war cry is in place to help the cadet to learn to speak using their diaphragm helping them speak louder.

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The last way that way that we practice and learn public speaking is by doing mock TV and radio interviews. One activity we do involves the  instructors impersonating a TV host and  asking us questions while we answer them. This way we learn proper TV etiquette, and some questions that may be asked.

More details are here : Texas Brigades 2018 Camp FlierTexas Brigades Logo-Bar

Texas Brigades (Jacob)

This is Jacob Cole, and I recently attended a leadership/conservation camp called the North Texas Buckskin Brigade. There are 6 different camps across the state of Texas: Bobwhite, Buckskin, Bass, Waterfowl, Coastal, And Ranch. Each Camp focuses on a different subject of Texas wildlife, their needs in a habitat, and their anatomy.  They also teach leadership skills, how to become a better public speaker, and how to work well in a team.

I have been to a brigades camp every summer for three years, and I have seen a difference in myself since that first year. I have been able to step up in larger areas, such as Serving as President on my county 4-H council, and helping teach at a local school garden. These skills have made me step up, and I have grown as a result.

I also learned about public speaking. During camp we learned about how to give radio and television interviews, and we practiced speaking in front of a group also. One of my favorite parts was the silver bullets. These are short quotes from famous people that are assigned to each cadet at the beginning of camp. They are memorized, then presented in front of the group, along with your name, where you are from, what it means to you, and your “war cry”. The latter is a practice in using  your diaphragm.

Every thing that the brigades has taught me has helped to make me a better leader, a better public speaker, and more knowledgeable about animals. If you are interested in wildlife, or you know someone who is interested in wildlife, then visit their website at

Group Ethics Discussions

buckskin ethics

A chance to use Public Speaking Skills too

buckskin ethics and public speaking

Out in the field doing Plant ID

buckskin field work

Project Time: Thank you Notes

buckskin projects

Giving my Silver Bullet


Winning Award of Top Cadet at Buckskin 



Texas Brigades (Pt 1) : Waterfowl

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!

IMG_4092These 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!!