The Youth Outdoor Camp was established in 2011 to help children who have not had opportunities to experience the outdoors and related activities. Thirty-two boys and girls ages 11 to 16, who had not yet taken their Hunter Education Class with the Nevada Department of Wildlife, participated in the second annual camp.
Located on a Nevada ranch 30 miles north of the Reno/Sparks area, the camp is nestled in a valley between the Dogskin Mountains and Tule Peak. The commonly seen animals are deer, antelope, wild horses, chukar, quail and sage grouse.
A key component of the camp is developing a youth mentor program with qualified adults who lead the attendees through the camp and follow up with them on future hunting and fishing experiences. Activities include: familiarization, handling and shooting of shotguns, 22 caliber rifles and bows; fishing and fishing education; survival skills and first aid; orienteering, map reading; laser safe shot station and fly tying instruction.
The camp was held Friday, Saturday and Sunday in July 2012. The children enjoyed their experiences as evident in the following camper’s testimonial.
Camper Luke: “I really enjoyed attending the camp because hunting and outdoor activities are things that I enjoy and love learning more about. I have not had a lot of opportunities to hunt and fish, primarily as my father is not an ‘outdoorsman’ and I have limited opportunities with my grandfather.
“I have to thank the people at the Maison T. Ortiz camp for allowing young kids to come to a camp and get hands-on experience in so many outdoor activities. We were able to sleep in tents, sit around the campfire, learn about the many career opportunities with wildlife, and sharpen our outdoor skills. The time went by very quickly and each day presented a new opportunity to learn a number of outdoor and survival skills. The instructors were great, very helpful and were terrific mentors and guided the activities ranging from fishing, orienteering, shotgun shooting and archery. The activity I enjoyed the most was fishing, which is surprising because I enjoy shooting and archery so much, and because I usually don’t have a good time when I fish, but this time was different – I caught a good size fish. A few days later, when my father and I barbecued it, the fish was delicious.”
The Maison T. Ortiz Youth Outdoor Skills Camp is a unique partnership with the Northern Nevada Chapter of the Safari Club International, Nevada Bighorns Unlimited (NBU), and the Sparks Rotary. Volunteers worked more than 2,500 hours.
The Youth Outdoor Skills Camp is named in honor and memory of Maison T. Ortiz, a 15-year-old Galena High School student who died in a tragic snowboarding accident in January 2011. Maison was a fifth generation Nevadan. From his early years, he had an uncanny ability to connect with nature and all of its creatures.– Terrance Melby, Chapter Director