“I don’t want this to ever end!”
The unsolicited response of a Klickitat Trout Unlimited Chapter’s STREAM Explorers camper during the camp’s last dinner at Brooks Memorial State Park recently.
“He came up next to me and kind of whispered so it was barely audible. I heard him loud and clear. It was the best thank you for volunteering to connect kids with the great outdoors and conservation”, said Lisa Beranek, a local Trout Unlimited camp volunteer.
The STREAM Explorers Camp is based on a national Trout Unlimited program to connect 4th through 6th graders with hands-on STEM learning experiences in the great outdoors. STREAM takes the traditional concept of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and incorporates recreation and art to engage participants in a holistic learning experience outside.
More than 25 campers from across Klickitat County were able to attend this first annual camp at Brooks Memorial State Park to be introduced to fly fishing, fly tying, gyotaku fish printing, aquatic bug investigation and more. The group is looking forward to offering additional youth programs as well as women’s specific events and family-friendly offerings.
“This is really where my heart is—getting kids outside and engaged in hands-on learning. I went to Brooks Camp as a kid and it shaped a lot of my life”, said Laurie Wilhite, Klickitat Trout Unlimited member and lead educator at the STREAM Explorers Camp. “As a conservation organization, our TU chapter is proud to foster future conservation leaders through inquiry-based learning right here in Klickitat County.”
In addition to a national grant from the Trout Unlimited Embrace A Stream Program, the Klickitat Trout Unlimited’s STREAM Explorers Camp was funded by generous donations from the Washington Council of Trout Unlimited, Goldendale Kiwanis, Goldendale Grange, Soroptimists International of Goldendale, Gorge Networks, Allen’s Building Center, Klickitat County 4-H, Skookum Resources, Klickitat TU members and additional donors who preferred to remain anonymous.
“We simply couldn’t put on family-friendly events without donors and our volunteer team. Times are tight for many families. We also know that there are opportunities to offer activities if we have individuals volunteer their time. There’s an opportunity for everyone!” said Lisa Beranek.
The Klickitat Trout Unlimited Chapter has a variety of events coming up including a speaking engagement about restoring beaver in Klickitat County as an important part of watershed health. This event is open to the public and will be held on Nov. 7 at the Columbia Bank in Goldendale.
The chapter will have an end of the year Wild Game & Garden Gathering in Lyle on Dec. 5 and a fly tying gathering in White Salmon in January.
To learn more, find the chapter on social media or contact KlickitatTU@yahoo.com.