PORT ARTHUR —
Last week I had the incredible honor of being an on camera guest on Bill Blodgett’s Majesty Outdoors television program.
Majesty Outdoors focuses on "fatherless" teens from across the country.
These teens, both girls and boys, may be experiencing the absence of a father due to divorce, death, incarceration or some other factor.
“There are other teens that are technically ‘fatherless’ as their dads are serving our country abroad or their fathers have served and returned wounded physically, unable to take part with their sons or daughters in the outdoors,” Blodgett said.
“This is not based on ‘catch and kill’ but centers on a message of hope, trust and transformation. God's brilliance through His splendid creation creates a relaxing and healing atmosphere for hurting teens. Majesty Outdoors purposes to capture this dynamic on tape.”
I watched that in person on Lake Calcasieu last week and saw before my very eyes a young boy named Sean begin a transformation. It occurred as he was put on some big redfish by Capt. Guy Stansel of Hackberry Rod & Gun and Blodgett and was affirmed and congratulated every step of the way.
Majesty Outdoors offers a scholarship for children featured on the program who maintain strong grades throughout school. It is an incentive for them to reach for the sky instead of things that can cause them harm.
And that is exactly what is needed in the outdoors world. I am all for kids fishing events and one-off hunting excursions but real impact will be made with continual involvement and mentoring.
By taking those children that discover a love for the outdoors at one of these kinds of event and pairing them with a mentor; it may be possible to put them on a path of lifelong outdoors adventure.
A mentoring situation could be as simple as e-mail communications about outdoors trips and outfitting them with tackle. Then again, it could go as far as regular trips to the field and taking a genuine role in their lives to steer them toward the right course.
And once kids begin an interest in the outdoors, we should do everything in our power to keep them focused there. The fact is outdoors kids are often ostracized from the “in” crowd.
For a kid with a strong backbone that can actually be beneficial because the “in” crowed is often the “in trouble” crowd but for those who might be a little weaker, it is important to give them all the support we can.
The forces aligned against children nowadays are staggering. Whether they hail from the barrio or white picket fence suburbs, they all deserve a chance to enjoy the bounty of the great outdoors and we should fight for this opportunity for them. I certainly do not have all of the answers to this dilemma but I do know that mentorship can make a big difference.
As I wrote a few years back, we will never reach every kid out there but for each one we turn onto topwater trout fishing, duck hunting or wildlife photography instead of drugs and alcohol we will have saved a life from ruin.
Kudos to Majesty Outdoors and Hackberry Rod & Gun for doing just that.