Kids And Mentors Outdoors update

Mark Walters • OUTDOOR COLUMNIST

Back in December of 2006 I wrote to you about an idea that I had to start an organization that would help to get more kids into the outdoors. That idea would become KAMO (Kids And Mentors Outdoors) which now has seven chapters in Wisconsin.

I am the president of KAMO and if I let it happen, KAMO could consume every minute of everyday of my life. Thanks to KAMO members and helpers throughout Wisconsin, that workload is evenly spread and as you are about to read we are succeeding at our goal.

Saturday, June 27

High 78, Low 55

This weekend’s event would be a simple but well-run camping trip at a private campground on the Wisconsin River, just north of Wisconsin Dells. The Baraboo River Chapter of KAMO ran the campground.

My daughter, Selina and I camped with these guys and girls which numbered about 15 people and for the most part it was swimming, fishing, hanging out at the campfire and kids taking turns petting “Fire” who is Selina’s golden retriever. Top-notch food cooked by Alfonzo Jones “AJ” was a huge bonus.

The second Saturday in July, The Northwoods Chapter of KAMO “the Florence area,” KAMO’s only original chapter, president Mick Milner and his awesome crew held their annual Kids Hooked on Fishing event on Lake Emily.

The Northwoods Chapter of KAMO has built over 30 fish cribs on Lake Emily and they took the kids (48 of them) fishing, and had a picnic.

A common misconception is that people assume that KAMO is 100 percent about taking kids on outdoor experiences from families that have no one to take them. Although that is our mission, on just about every event some of the KAMO members may have some of their own children or perhaps nieces and nephews along. In a way KAMO is like a club where outdoor families merge and create events.

KAMO’s newest chapter, “The Lake Wisconsin Chapter” of KAMO, is based out of the Poynette/Lodi area and it held its first meeting one year ago.

Let me tell you, Bob and Linda Brodeur have been my friends from third grade on up, and the Brodeurs and their incredible crew are doing a ton of one-on-ones and events. On July 25 they took part in bed races, a dunk tank and a host of other fun activities to help raise funds for their chapter.

When I talk to members of this chapter and read their part of the KAMO Newsletter each month, I am incredibly proud at what they are achieving and it is super cool the way Poynette has made this a “community outdoor organization.”

Just a little throw-in each summer month they join together with The Baraboo River Chapter and have a picnic and fishing event at the park in Merrimac.

The Coulee Chapter “La Crosse” of KAMO is like a busy mini-mart that is open 24/7. They are basically always doing something. This weekend they are hosting two shooting events and taking a bunch of kids to the La Crosse Loggers game.

The Indianhead Chapter Ladysmith/ Cornell amazes me. They are low on mentor numbers but are constantly introducing kids to archery, holding birding classes and have two camping trips planned.

Last weekend, Selina/Fire and I camped with 25 mentors and kids from “The Meadow Valley Chapter” of KAMO (New Lisbon/ Necedah area) at Wilderness Park on the Petenwell Flowage. That event was incredible: – bow fishing at night, swimming, and pontoon boat rides, fishing out of boats and bear baiting were all a big part of the weekend.

An incredible storm on Friday night that put two trees on a nearby RV at 4:00 in the morning tested everyone’s metal.

I do not have the space to mention even 10 percent of what is happening or all of the chapters. What I would like to say in this last part of my column is this:

If you live in the Florence area near Denmark or perhaps Ladysmith or Necedah, etc., etc., we would enjoy having you become a part of KAMO. We do one-onones and events. Everyone comes in on their own terms.

As president of KAMO, one of my largest concerns is burning out my mentors. Kids, parents, uncles, neighbors, teachers – we have built the organization.

In time KAMO will be huge across this state. We can use financial help, and mentors and kids to introduce to the great outdoors. Please check out our website at kamokids.org.

Tradition Forward!

Sunset

P.S. – If you have four or more people that are seriously interested, we will help you start a KAMO Chapter in your neck of the woods.


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