HOWARD — A little wind and cold didn’t stop the 2010 Pheasants Forever Youth Field Day from being a success on Saturday. The second annual event, held at Campbell’s Range and Farm near Howard, brought out a large number of youth, many experiencing the outdoors for the first time.
The Youth Field Day, which was inspired by the national Pheasants Forever initiative “No Child left Indoors,” provided youth with activities ranging from fishing and horseback riding to leather making and archery.
“When the national Pheasants Forever started the program, we wanted to jump on board,” said Knox County chapter president Stacey Sullins. “Craig Campbell, Steve Graham and I went down to the southeastern Ohio chapter, which is the group that started it in Ohio in Fairfield County. We went down and saw their event and liked what we saw. We wanted to bring it back to the children of Knox County.”
Participants tried their hand at fishing in the farm pond, which was stocked with rainbow trout through the Knox County Park District and the Division of Wildlife. The pond also had a selection of sunfish, bass and perch. Other activities around the pond were fly tying demonstrations and duck hunting information sessions.
Away from the pond, roping was being taught by the Knox County Horse Park. Participants were also given the chance to try their hand at tomahawk throwing, clay trap shooting, .22 rifle shooting and firing a muzzleloader.
“We want to let kids know of opportunities that they have in life, things they can go out and do,” said Sullins. “A lot of kids are wrapped up in computers and television nowadays, so we wanted to get them out and let them know about all of the different activities they can get involved in.”
The Knox County 4-H was on hand, helping teach various activities, including archery and leather making. Archery proved to be one of the most popular events of the day as several youth couldn’t wait to try their aim at the range.
“My favorite part is the archery,” said 11-year-old Dana Reynolds of Mount Vernon. “I started liking archery since I got to try it in Girls Scouts. This is my third time shooting, but it is the first time I’ve ever been here. I think this is really cool.”
Another popular activity was the birdhouse building, in which children got to build their own birdhouse to take home with them. Attendees also had the opportunity to learn about stream preservation and soil erosion through a demonstration by the Knox Soil & Water Conservation District. There were also bird dog and coon dog demonstrations throughout the day.
“I really liked just about everything,” said 11-year-old Jonathan Brooks, a student at Mount Vernon Middle School. “Everything is a lot of fun.”
Boy Scouts of America Troop 330 (First Christian Church, Mount Vernon) also had the opportunity to spend the night and take part in the event by teaching primitive camping techniques and knot tying.
“This is pretty fun,” said 16-year-old Kyle Scates, who is part of Troop 330. “We got to camp here overnight and watch everything get set-up. ... Archery is my favorite, but the guns were pretty fun, too.”
Overall, 160 youth took part in the field day, which is a good sign for the local chapter. While the weather and other activities may have kept the numbers down from where Sullins had hoped, he was happy all-in-all.
“I think the wind had our numbers down a little bit, and there were a lot of kids playing ball,” said Sullins. “Overall, I think we are doing all right. We had as many as we did last year by mid-morning, which is good.
“I’d like to personally thank the Campbell family for opening up their farm, and making this thing happen. This is a great place to have it. Craig (Campbell) is our youth chairmen, and does a lot for our organization.”