From syrup to turkey hunting

Until this past March I had never witnessed the process of pulling sap from a maple tree and making it into maple syrup.

This week’s column is on KAMO (Kids And Mentors Outdoors and it is a success story no matter how you look at it.

The readers of this column started KAMO in 2007 with chapters in Ladysmith, Wisconsin Dells and Florence. Since then we have expanded to the New Lisbon, Poynette, La Crosse and the Marshfield areas of Wisconsin.

What we do, is get kids outdoors!

Saturday, March 11

High 42, Low 24

Who would have thought that 34 days after this first piece of field work for this story the forecast would be for 6-10 inches of snow.

Our La Crosse and Ladysmith Chapters of KAMO have taught us that our future is not just in hunting and fishing, and that is why today KAMO vice president Bob Nicksic would be teaching six kids how to make maple syrup on Bob and Dawn’s property near New Lisbon.

In reality, what we would be doing today would be emptying a total of 82 one- and two-gallon jugs from 82 tapped sugar maple trees.

The sap roughly boils down to one gallon of maple syrup from 45 gallons of clear sap, is a labor of love and long hours for Bob and his brother Steve “Otto” Nicksic. Bob and Steve are both retired and have homes on what was the farm that they both grew up on.

What I witnessed today is what I witness at every KAMO event – kids learning and having a great time in the outdoors.

Our Coulee Chapter is run by Mike Brown who is a retired Onalaska high school teacher and has done 92 events like what I just briefly described over the last two years.

Mike has recently taken on the immense task with help from other people of 100-percent rebuilding of our web site which has been a monumental task.

In Baraboo, four chapters of KAMO have been meeting since early February with a plan of how can we get more members per chapter. Like any volunteer organization this is a tough challenge and the problem that I see as president of KAMO is the potential to burn out what I call our core members.

We recently purchased 100 yard signs with the KAMO logo and web site on them and will be spreading them out throughout

The Wisconsin Dells area as well a few going to each chapter.

We are also working on a plan to spend some serious money on a billboard on Interstate 90/94 near the Mauston exit if we can work out the legal end of making it happen.

Last weekend I observed the Lemonweir Longer Beards which is a chapter of the NWTF, (National Wild Turkey Federation) as they trained 20 young turkey hunters in preparation for their first turkey hunt.

KAMO had five mentors and five young hunters at this training day. The following weekend’s hunt is a great way to grow KAMO by working with other organizations.

You may say to yourself why are you writing about this? KAMO is an independent organization that is willing to start a chapter anywhere in Wisconsin.

We are dedicated to helping our youth learn about and enjoy the outdoors and we seriously need more mentors for each chapter.

I am asking everyone that is reading this to think about maybe joining or mentioning to someone that you know about becoming a KAMO mentor.

This column will be published in 63 papers in Wisconsin. I honestly believe that there are readers out there that can enhance their lives and a kids by becoming a KAMO mentor.

Tradition forward!


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