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.

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Book Review : The Cow said Neigh

Even though my kids are ages 17-12, I still love a good picture book/read-aloud!!

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I was excited to get to read this to the sweetest 3 year old you might just see as well, and we all loved the story!!

The art work is great!  The story is funny and adorable!

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This is the kind of book that your child /grandchild will beg you to read again and again!

Here is my girl with this sweet book, she took it on Monday to our Bible study so she could read it to that same adorable little 3 year old – and they both laughed through it!!

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NOTE : I received a copy of The Cow said Neigh at no cost, in exchange for an honest review.

Malawi Day 8 (Thursday)

I have many favorites during out time in Malawi, and this day is certainly a favorite.  

In Malawi there are many children that dig through trash at the dump looking for food for them and their family.  Last year Elizabeth decided that she wanted to host a group of these boys instead of having a farewell meal with other people.  So Chifundo found a group of these boys (12 of them) and invited them to our house for a meal and fellowship.  

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Enjoying a wonderful meal
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Eating all they wanted
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More boys and their meal
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Enjoying their time of fellowship with us

 

He told them the day before to bathe so that they were clean.  To wear their best clothes.  And the details of when he would get them.  When he picked them up, other people yelled to the boys that we wanted to steal them, or take them away and take their blood, etc.  Crazy.  But they told the people they knew this man and it was fine.

They arrived shy.  But once we  brought out the soccer ball, their apprehension melted away.  I was introduced to them, ranging in age from 11-18.  It was a heart breaking day for me.  Throughout our time with them my heart just hurt that this group was more family then their real family.  These boys spent more time with each other than their real family.  One boy did not have any living parents.  Three had a single mother.  So hard.

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So the boys played with them – then we had a time of music and singing.  They seemed to know some songs – they definitely knew how to dance.  And they laughed.  
Next we shared with them for a bit from God’s word.  Encouraged them to follow the Lord, and to trust him.  Then we fed them!  They loved the full plates of food.  They loved the soda!

As a farewell we gave them a Walmart bag with a bar of soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, gloves, and a fidget spinner.  They were elated!!  Then we gave them all empty water bottles – that we were saving to turn in – and filled them with water – again, they were thrilled!

The plan is to continue with this particular group of boys, to host them twice a month to feed them and teach them about the Lord.  In my opinion, this follow up is the most important.  Not the feeding, but the discipling.  Knowing that we started a process that will continue with these boys is very satisfying. 

Malawi Day 7 (Wednesday)

(Photos to follow)

Today was our next day off to the next village.  This particular day we were not going into one particular village to meet with all sorts of people.  Instead, we met with Daniel so we could encourage his beekeeping club.  He started his club last year.  In this club they try to work together and learn from each other. 
We brought a langstroth hive box to show them and we talked about how to get started and all about bees.  There were about 6 current beekeepers, but about 20 people who did not have bees yet.  

Then, we trekked over to Daniel’s bees and Jacob and Elizabeth suited up with Daniel and went into one of the hives.  Interesting to say the least!  The hive was very strong, and quite aggressive.  When they opened the hive some of the wax the bees built came off, which is very disturbing to them, and we think this increased their anger toward the intruders.

A couple people were stung, but I think they enjoyed the experience.

On our way home we went into town to purchase a bicycle.  One occupation here is to be a bicycle taxi driver.  The men sit and wait for someone to hire them, then they drive them to their desired location.  One man that Chifundo is diciplining is Blessing.  This man borrows a bike to use and has to pay most of his earnings to the owner each day.  So The Elephant wanted to buy this man a bicycle so he can use ALL the money he earns for his family.  A bicycle here is about 60,000 Kwatcha which is about $83 US dollars.

Then we tried again to figure out the visa for Lucy.

We picked up a man, Lawrence, and I was excited to know that he knows many of our friends to include Nathan Lorick and Grant Parker!  He went to the hotel with us to try and help us figure it out.  It did not work – so we had to trust that another day we could figure it out.

It was a busy day and a good one.  Going into bees and teaching about them is one of our favorites.  For the residents in Dowa it was a great time to learn more about what goes on inside the hive and more about the honey bee in general.  We also gifted them some money that a fellow beekeeper in East Texas gave us to help their club purchase a bee suit.