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TU Youth Camps: Where the Best & Brightest Shine

I never went to real summer camp. Stories of shenanigans that sound like tropes from a John Hughes film aren’t something I can necessarily relate to. Moreover, my first inclination is to balk at the idea that summer camp is seriously someone’s idea of “fondest memories.”

Then, I remember I did go to summer camp. But it was for fly fishing nerds, was for only one week, and we were almost to a person so focused on catching trout that there was hardly any room for tomfoolery. I mean, we had to be up before six to get an hour of fishing in before breakfast.

It was the Pennsylvania Rivers Conservation & Fly Fishing Youth Camp. It took a kid who loved fishing and turned me into a young man who was passionate about angling and conservation. That is where this camp really shines. Serving as a director of the camp for a number of years, we got to see the best and brightest that the region had to offer. Boys and girls came to learn, and a good number of them credit their experience that week for launching them to pursue a passion related to cold water conservation.

If you aren’t familiar with the Trout Unlimited Youth Camps, or the Headwater Youth Program in general, head over to the TU site to see all that is being offered to the next generation. If you are an active member of a chapter, make supporting these camps a priority. Many expenses through TU are worthwhile, but sending a teen or two to a week of a lifetime is an incredible investment. For more information on the 2017 PA camp, read below the break.


On Sunday June 18, 2017 Cumberland Valley Trout Unlimited begins its 23rd Rivers Conservation & Fly Fishing Youth Camp. This year the camp will be held at Messiah College, outside of Mechanicsburg.  Due to the change in venue some classes have been rearranged but the award winning program remains the same.

The camp will host 32 students from across Pennsylvania who will be immersed in scientific topics ranging in topics including Principles of Ecology, Geology and Hydrology, Wetlands, Watersheds, the Biology of Pollution, Aquatic Invertebrates, and How Fish Work. In addition they will learn how flies imitate the bugs that live in the stream, how to sample bugs, how to tie flies to create those imitations, and how to fish them.  The students will work on a habitat project in the Yellow Breeches and observe an electrofishing demonstration. In addition there will be fishing for the students in the morning before classes and in the evening following dinner.

This camp has been so successful in Pennsylvania that it has been copied in eighteen other states.  For more information, visit www.riverscamp.com.

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