EWF camp teaches survival skills

Kayaking, shooting, fire starting and fishing, orienting and swimming, canoeing and much more. Estevan Wildlife Federation (EWF) camp that was going at the Boundary Dam last week taught kids many important survival skills in a fun and safe environment.

Once again these few days filled with outdoor activities turned to be really exciting.

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“Camp was really, really good,” said Stephen Lainton, youth chairperson for the EWF. “I think everybody had a really good time.”  

About 30 participants joined the camp this time, which is a little bit less than before. Usually, EWF has 40 children ages 11-15 settling at the Boundary Dam for a few days in summer. But this year due to the constriction of the new clubhouse until the very last minute the EWF wasn’t sure if they would be able to have a camp at all. So the registration was delayed.

“We didn’t have our registration out until quite a bit later than we are used to.  But we were able to get the clubhouse far enough along that we could get the camp. So when we did get our registrations out, a lot of people have already made summer plans. But we are very happy with the turnout that we had considering all that,” said Lainton.

And the new clubhouse turned out just “amazing” and made a big difference for the camp.

“Going from what we had to this is such a huge lead. And it opens up a lot more possibilities for the camp as well,” said Lainton, already planning for the next camps to come.

This year there were a few new campers, but most kids were returning. So were the counselors and volunteers who were too old to keep coming to the camp as participants, but loved it so much that couldn’t miss out on it. Thus, one of the counselors Carter Daoust, who was with EWF camps for about nine years, missed Garth Brooks’ concerts in Regina just to make sure he would be in Estevan for this weekend.

Lainton noted that they usually get a lot of interest and a lot of people are willing to come in and help.

"The volunteer base is amazing.”

Besides individual volunteers, the Estevan Archery Club and the Estevan Trap Club, as well as Craig Bird and his team, were helping out with the activities at the shooting range.

The Mercury joined the group on the day of shooting when kids were learning to safely and properly handle various guns without being afraid of them. Throughout that day young shooters had a chance to try archery, trap shooting, handguns, .22’s, muzzleloader and take it out on their counselors at the paintball range.

Not a lot of kids would get to try this type of activities if not for the EWF camp. And it is important for the camp organizers to make sure that when learning new skills children feel safe and comfortable.

“A lot of the kids are city kids. They don’t get a chance to do that. So they can come out and try all these things in a safe way. (For example) our canoeing where we purposely will tip over their canoe so that they can learn how to get it back right side up in the water and do it all safely. Learning how to build a fire, things like that, the survival skills they can learn, I think, are really important,” said Lainton.

The weather also added some excitement to the already-rich program.

“One of the most interesting things was the storm that we had rolling through on Saturday morning. Luckily we did have the new clubhouse that we could move the children to. We had quite a bit of rain, and wind, and hail,” said Lainton.

But the kids ended up loving that new adventure. And when some parents showed up to drop off dry clothes or help with the tents, a few wilderness survivours didn’t see the need for them to be there.

Lainton said that most of the kids stay involved with the EWF throughout the year. They come to fishing derbies, volunteer at events like Awards Night and fundraisers. And Lainton is always very grateful to people giving their time to the EWF and helping with the camps.

“There is no way it can happen without all those volunteers,” said Lainton.

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