(Apr. 16, 2004 - San Antonio, TX)
The Christian Outdoor Alliance recently announced its third annual essay contest for boys and girls 11-16. The young person who writes the best essay on the topic "The importance of our hunting and fishing heritage" will receive a $1000 scholarship to one of this summer's Hunting and Fishing Adventure Camps. The scholarship may be applied to any session for summer 2004.
Last year's winner, Cody St. John, attended the third 2003 summer session and had the experience of his lifetime, harvesting a buffalo with a bow and catching a nine pound largemouth bass.
Runners up will receive a 10% discount off their camp tuition.
Billed as "The Ultimate Dream Camps," the COA camps give participants hands-on, in-the-field instruction on hunting and fishing, and the opportunity to harvest and process fish and game. Plus, they teach Bible-based respect for nature, and practical lessons in spiritual maturity, leadership, responsibility, and integrity.
This summer COA will host a total of 10 sessions of seven to 10 days each, with sessions for boys and girls aged 11-16. The organization's camp lineup this year includes five sessions of its traditional "Hunting and Fishing" camp format, plus five sessions of "specialty" camps.
The curriculum for the camps includes serious hunting and/or fishing, plus advanced skills, game preparation, conservation, sporting ethics and more. Each camper receives daily hands-on, in-the-field instruction from a range of experts.
COA's traditional camp format allows campers to harvest exotic does, wild hogs and other game, plus fish for trophy bass and catfish. Specialty camps this summer include saltwater fishing, freshwater fishing, bowhunting, trophy exotic buck hunting, and a trip to the Rocky Mountains in Idaho, in which campers will harvest buffalo on a private ranch and fish for trophy trout in the wilds of Yellowstone National Park.
"We've found that getting kids outdoors opens up so many avenues for teaching important life lessons, like responsibility, integrity, and spiritual maturity," said camp director Michael Marbach. "Our goal is not only to have lots of fun while teaching them to be better hunters and fishermen, but to do so in a context of enjoying and being good stewards of God's creation."
"We've got a stack of letters from parents thanking us for helping their children grow up to be better people, and from campers thanking us for the fun they had," said Marbach. "That's what these camps are all about."
To keep the instruction quality as high as possible, COA holds participation to no more than 20 campers per session. Space is extremely limited, and in past years sessions have filled up quickly. For this reason, COA encourages people to sign up as early as possible to hold a spot for their camper.
The COA is a non-profit organization based in San Antonio. In addition to conducting camps, the organization produces Maximum Outdoors Magazine magazine, and supports a grassroots network of members, chapters and youth ministers.
Marbach is former dean of students and varsity baseball coach at St. Mary's Hall private school in San Antonio.
Entries should be 250-350 words long, typed, double-spaced, on plain white paper. Please do not include the writer's name on the same page(s) as the essay. Instead, include your name and full contact information on a separate page stapled to the essay. Entries must be mailed to:
COA Essay Contest
PO Box 790692
San Antonio, TX 78279
All entries must be received no later than May 15, and the winning entry will be announced on May 17.
Eligible contestants must be ages 11-16. The prize scholarship is non-transferable and cannot be redeemed for cash. E-mailed entries will not be accepted.
A panel of veteran outdoor writers will choose the winning entry.
For more information, or for pre-printed flyers announcing the essay contest to distribute at your school, contact camp director Michael Marbach at 210-490-6529, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.