Summer Fishing Camps for Youth
The FWC is combating the tendency for today’s youth to disconnect from nature and the outdoors, through the Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network (FYCCN). This initiative is providing “Fishing and Basic Boating Skills Camps” (Fish Camps) throughout the state.
Fish Camps, for youth ages 9–15, combine teaching and practical application of angling and boating skills. An instructor provides a fish identification and anatomy lesson, and a law enforcement officer conducts a boating safety demonstration. The goal of Fish Camp is to establish individuals as life-long anglers and stewards of aquatic and fisheries resources, so they can benefit from a healthy, active connection with nature.
This unique program utilizes partners to expand the reach and cost-effectiveness of the camps. Plans are to establish at least one Fish Camp in each county. There are currently about 20 camps; two of the best established are the Ocala and Everglades camps. To locate a camp, or to help start a camp at a new location, email FYCCN@myfwc.com.
FWC staff developed and tested the Fish Camp model using Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration funds. Expanding the program relies on anglers, who voluntarily donate when buying a fishing license. FWC assists cooperators with startup costs for new camps and trains non-FWC trainers to ensure quality experiences. FWC staff also assists with evaluating camps to ensure positive impacts on campers’ environmental awareness, fishing skills, and long-term participation.
Fish Camps are fun and exciting for kids and what they learn will help them to live happier and healthier lives and become advocates for sustaining our environmental resources.