It started around a year ago. I could not wait to release a new program we had been working on called “Outdoor U” and once released, I could not wait to participate. Outdoor U is a new program that allows hunters, anglers, campers and shooting sports enthusiasts to track their recreational and life learning activities and obtain various achievement levels. Each level says something about you. In the beginning, well you start out as a Pathfinder. For newbies, this is a great level as the program challenges you and your family to do various simple outdoor activities associated with either hunting, fishing, camping or shooting sports. Once you complete a level of outdoor pursuits, you graduate to the next level. Of course, each level suggests you know something more about the outdoors. I speaks volumes of your experience level. I know all of the outdoor activities I had to complete to achieve my latest level and I could not be more proud!
In January I was awarded the certificate of Trailblazer. Completing that level (and all the levels leading up to it) took considerable time and a wee bit of skill. Actually, the skills were gained along the way. They included outings at the local gun club. Spring turkey hunts with my daughter. Camping trips with friends. Developing outdoor program activities for my local gun club to offer the general public. Attending some hunting workshops. More time in the deer stand and turkey blind (you can see the dedication). Along the way, the program really makes you want to go from hunter to mentor. You feel the desire to give something back. Once you do, you properly achieve another level. Anyone who has ever mentored another hunter or angler will tell you that once you mentor, something inside you does change. You find incredible excitement in the hunt by watching others succeed. Actually, I think achievement in this program develops outdoor leaders and that is something we could use more of. After all, where will our next heroes of conservation come from? I bet they start out as Pathfinders.
Get your whole family started in Outdoor U by going to www.outdooru.org. It only takes a minute to register and your whole family can begin logging memories and gaining outdoor experiences they will take with them their whole life. The program is absolutely free and the knowledge gained incredible. Take the challenge and hopefully we will see your name at the Legacy Level. I know I am working hard to achieve that too. Maybe for the skills, memories, bragging rights, or just plain fun. Whatever motivates you, join us and let the good times begin!