Get outside Ė itís all about the kids!

Well, summerís coming to a close fast, at least for the kids who'll be back in school within two weeks. Remember the first assignment, "what did you do on your summer vacation?" Well, before summer closes out, here's your assignment: "What outdoor activities did you do with your kids on your summer vacation?"

There will be a lot of you are hard-pressed to answer that. Really, think about it, what outdoor activities did you do with your kids, grandkids or even great-grandkids? I hear it all the time that kids don't do the outdoor stuff that we used to do. Kids sit in front of the television, video, nintendos and the like, the "electronic babysitters.Ē But whose fault is it? Not theirs.

I read hiking reports every week from several of the area hiking clubs. I've even gone on a few hikes. Who is it on the hikes? The older people, many of whom say that kids don't hike anymore. But the irony of it is that these same hikers never bring along their kids. In the half dozen hikes I was on this year no one brought along their kids. What a shame that we did not introduce our kids to the outdoors via one of the least stressful, least consumptive, least costly activities like hiking. So, I challenge you, Mr. and Mrs. Hiker to bring a kid along next time! Maybe they'll take an interest and you'll have another member in your hiking club.

I spent five days at the sportsmen's area at the Chenango County Fair earlier this month showing folks who were interested how to use a crossbow. While I was there, on three occasions Sam Scafidi and Gary Sweet from Trout Unlimited gave their time to tie flies with kids. Hey, how easy is that, you don't even have to tie the fly, someone else is teaching your son or daughter how to do it. I hope you didn't just take it home and let your kid put it on the dresser. I hope you took them down to the pond with their fishing rod and let them spend the day casting their own homemade fly. Maybe they'll take an interest and they'll be another member in the fishing club.

My 11-year-old nephew came up from New Jersey for my birthday back in July. He was excited to see me shooting my crossbow. So I went and got him a $29 kids compound bow to get him started. It came with three arrows. Within an hour he'd lost one of the arrows, hit a rock with another and was down to one. We quit and the next day I went down to Mayhoodís and got him 15 more. He shot his bow every day for the week while he was here. He now wants to know how to go bowhunting! It cost me less than $100 to introduce him to archery, and now he'll be joining a bow shooting club!

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