Another victory for getting kids Outdoors

Back in October of 2009, I was bow hunting in The Meadow Valley Wildlife Area and had my truck parked in a somewhat remote area.

On the door of my truck was a sticker that had KAMO (Kids And Mentors Outdoors) on it. Little did I know that Onalaska math and science teacher Mike Brown had seen that sticker and wrote down which was also on it.

I am the president of KAMO and on the website is my phone number which Mike called and that is how we met.

A month later, Mike attended a meeting of the Meadow Valley Chapter of KAMO at New Lisbon, joined that chapter and told us on night one that he wanted to start a KAMO chapter in La Crosse.

Back in July of 2012, I met with Mike and a few other people in La Crosse for what would be the - ter of KAMO. As with the prior four chapters of KAMO and the next after Coulee (Chippewa, Eau Claire), I witnessed how hard it is to get enough mentors together to create a core group and actually make a difference locally on introducing kids to the outdoors through one-on-ones and group events.

This week one of the things that I am writing about is an event that the Coulee Chapter hosted for 11 kids in the hill country southwest of La Crosse where they taught - ing, and put on a lunch.

I was just an observer during this event and it was awesome to watch what was once just a dream in this column

Tim Collins is a retired physics instructor from WTC and taught the birding class. In the fall he will lead a group deer hunt and camping trip.

I know very little about songbirds and it was really cool to walk through the woods and listen to the birds and have Tim identify and tell the kids a bit about each bird.

My buddy Mike taught the geo- something with a compass that has

Last spring at our state meeting in Stevens Point, Mike told us that The Coulee Chapter were going to teach kids on non-harvest outdoor activities, and I am 100 percent behind that decision.

The Coulee Chapter received two very respectable awards this year. One was from the Mississippi Valley Conservancy and that was the “Outstanding Youth Group of the Year” award. The other was from the La Crosse County Conservation Alliance and it was their “Outstanding Club” award.

In a different setting last fall, Dave Carlson did an excellent show with these guys where they were teaching kids how to duck hunt on the Mississippi River. That show is on our website and it is truly entertaining.

Today, a potential KAMO mentor Jim Getter, who is a retired restaurant owner from Stevens guide for the Driftless Angler, I was very impressed with both Jim’s skills and his ability to work with kids.

Each year, I have to make a decision on who will be the recipient of “The President’s Award” for what I see as one of the most active people in KAMO who makes a difference on a broad scale. This past year, Mike shared that award with Jim Kurz, who is our KAMO state secretary and seems to be constantly doing something with kids in the Ladysmith area (Indianhead Chapter).

On the 12th of July the Northwoods Chapter (Florence) will be hosting its annual Hooked on Fishing event where they provide pole for each kid that shows up to take home.

On July 21, at my hometown high school of Poynette, in the lunch room at 7 p.m. several of us will be hosting an informal get together. The meeting is to start what I believe will be KAMO’s eighth chapter or possibly ninth as we are working on another one in Green Bay, where they are having their second meeting on the 14th.

I will be at Poynette and hope to see a bunch of friends and family as well as new friends.

Folks, it’s happening – KAMO is going to become a force in getting our Wisconsin kids back into the outdoors, and we need you!


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