Pass It On - Outdoor Mentors Adds Director of Field Operations for New Outreach Program for School Clay Shooting Teams

Pass It On - Outdoor Mentors, the nonprofit organization serving youth in the outdoors since 2001, has launched a new Outreach Program to engage and inspire state high school trapshooting teams to hunt and fish in Kansas.

For immediate release

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Wichita, KS, June 11, 2019. Pass It On - Outdoor Mentors (PIO) is activating a new initiative that links state high school clay shooting programs with opportunities to hunt with skilled mentor-volunteers.  The organization is building on their expertise in mentoring with organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters and expanding their offerings to state high school clay shooting teams, helping bridge the gap between shooting skills and hunting skills and contribute to the goals of the National R3 (recruitment/retention/reactivation) effort.

This month PIO brought on Brittany Waldman to coordinate this effort as the Director of Field Operations.  An experienced outdoor mentor with PIO, Brittany has worked within a professional educational setting assisting children with learning challenges and has a master’s degree in sociology.

While continuing to grow their existing outdoor mentoring program, PIO is actively reaching out to coaches, parents and hunting conservation organization volunteers to build safe mentored hunting opportunities. Hunting organization chapters are equipped with experienced hunters and anglers ready to pass their wisdom and expertise on to the next generation. Groups such as Pheasant’s Forever have successfully partnered with PIO to get first time hunters in the field. Local Chapter President, Joshua May shared that “The Ringneck Rustlers is excited for the future direction of Pass it On - Outdoors Mentors and more importantly help with the future of hunting through the youth in our area. This has been an excellent partnership and we look forward to continuing that tradition with Brittany on upcoming adventures."

An early supporter of the effort is Andover High School trapshooting coach Randy Randall who emphasized the importance of providing his athletes opportunities to get outdoors. “We have had first hunts where kids shot clay targets and received instruction on field hunting and then the kids were taken to the bird field where they were successful. The key is that young adult must have a soulmate that is also hunter.  With two or more them, they will feed off each other. That soulmate can be a friend, parent, brother, sister, grandparent and yes maybe a shooting coach.”

Victor Mercado of Maize High School teaches the Outdoor Adventure class and coaches the trap team. “Pass It On has taken the initiative to get the kids outdoors.  All it takes is for kids to get an opportunity to go hunting and that will spark enough interest to get started. All it takes is one time for students to get out in the field and they will be hooked.”

In Kansas, the State High School Clay Target League is growing at a great pace. Having started just 4 years ago, there are 74 high school teams and over 1,800+ students participating this spring. In addition, 4-H Shooting Sports in Kansas has over 5,300 participants. Until now there has been no coordinated, focused, intentional effort to encourage this population to go hunting. This effort will address the issue of getting these students in the field to hunt.

The program has strong support from the outdoor community, including Hodgdon Powder,  Kansas Filtration, Kansas Governor’s Ringneck Classic, Kansas State Rifle Association, Ringneck Rustlers Chapter of Pheasants Forever, Scent Crusher, Tristar Sporting Arms, and Walton’s, Inc. They have all stepped up to provide the initial funding to make it possible to get this new initiative off the ground. Leadership from these organizations is critical to the future of hunting and fishing.

Pass It On empowers and educates youth to hunt and fish, but more importantly to embrace the outdoors.  “Hunting and fishing is the cornerstone of conservation in America and Pass It On - Outdoor Mentors is doing the hard work to get kids to connect with this lifestyle”, Pass It On - Outdoor Mentors Chairman Ryan Bronson said.  “This newest innovation is filling a niche that clearly needs to be filled.”

Our goals with this new effort are to 1) recruit new hunters by giving those who don’t currently hunt opportunities to hunt upland game, waterfowl, turkey and deer; 2) retain current hunters by giving those youth trap shooters and their parents who currently are hunters the opportunity to engage in more hunting activities; and 3) to reactivate parents who want to participate with their children in these hunting activities.

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For more information contact Mike Christensen at 316. 253.7221 or mchristensen@outdoormentors.org. Brittany Waldman can be reached at bwaldman@outdoormentors.org

Cabela's donates 100 new Rods/Reels to Pass It On - Outdoor Mentors!

Cabela's in Wichita has donated 100 rods & reels to Pass It On - Outdoor Mentors and we want to get them in the hands of kids who want to go fishing!

Johnny Morris, Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s are donating more than 55,000 rods and reels to not-for-profit partners that help kids from all backgrounds connect to the great outdoors to kick off Gone Fishing.

The nationwide movement is part of an annual call-to-action that aims to introduce the sport to millions of kids. 

If your Little needs a fishing rod, please give me a call and we'll save one for them!

You can reach me at 316-253-7221.

Mike Christensen and Brittany Waldman were privileged to receive rods/reels from Cabela’s in support of our efforts to get more kids outdoors, fishing!

Mike Christensen and Brittany Waldman were privileged to receive rods/reels from Cabela’s in support of our efforts to get more kids outdoors, fishing!

Federal Ammunition Sponsors Pass It On – Outdoor Mentors

NEWS RELEASE
For Immediate Release

Contact:           Michael  Christensen
Pass It On - Outdoor Mentors, Inc.
310 E 2nd
Wichita, KS  67202
316-290-8883
mchristensen@outdoormentors.org
http://www.outdoormentors.org

 

Federal Ammunition Sponsors
Pass It On – Outdoor Mentors

Federal Premium® Ammunition’s support of the Pass It On - Outdoor Mentors program gives more children the opportunity to experience the great outdoors.

Wichita, KS, April 24, 2018.  Federal Premium® Ammunition has renewed their sponsorship commitment to help expand and grow the Pass It On - Outdoor Mentors program that gives children the opportunity to experience the great outdoors.

“If we are to reverse the trend of declining numbers in the hunting community, we have to get more folks stepping up to mentor today’s youth. Pass It On - Outdoor Mentors is currently working in several states to implement Outdoor Mentoring Partnerships that provide more opportunities for kids to learn to hunt, shoot and fish,” said Mike Christensen, Pass It On - Outdoor Mentors President. “With our emphasis on reaching children with no connection to the outdoors, it is critical to our efforts that we get support from everyone in the outdoors to help make this happen.  Having Federal Ammunition on our team greatly enhances our ability to get kids outdoors!”

Federal Premium Ammunition’s Director of Conservation Ryan Bronson said that research by a number of organizations confirms that new hunters and shooters are recruited by a mentor.

“Sustained support by a committed mentor is pivotal in teaching young people the skills, values, and ethics that are part of becoming a new sportsperson,” Bronson said. “Pass it On is one of the organizations that can serve as a model for pairing interested young people with a committed adult that will lead to a lifetime enjoyment of wildlife and the outdoors.”

Pass It On - Outdoor Mentors partners with state fish and wildlife agencies, conservation organizations and youth organizations to give at-risk children outdoor opportunities they would not have had otherwise.  “Too many children today never get the chance to experience the great outdoors we all know and love.  When you hear a youngster say they’ve never seen a cow or been on a dirt road, you know we have to step up our efforts to get these children outdoors,” stated Christensen.

About Federal Ammunition
Since 1922, Federal Premium® Ammunition has been providing hunters and shooters with high-quality shotshell, centerfire and rimfire ammunition. To learn more about Federal Premium’s products and programs, go to www.federalpremium.com.

About Pass It On - Outdoor Mentors
Pass It On - Outdoor Mentors, Inc. is a Wichita, Kansas-based national organization dedicated to providing children with mentors who will share with them the experiences of traditional outdoor activities. The heart of the group's mission is to give children opportunities to connect with nature that they more than likely won't have without a mentor showing them the way. Partnering with organizations with like-minded conservation and youth participation efforts like Big Brothers Big Sisters, Pheasants Forever, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Delta Waterfowl, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the National Wild Turkey Federation, among others, volunteers with a passion for the outdoors can give a child the chance to go fish, hunt, or simply spend time in the fields with a caring adult. For more information about Pass It On - Outdoor Mentors, please visit http://www.outdoormentors.org.

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Pass It On - Outdoor Mentors announces first Kansas Chapter

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NEWS RELEASE

 

 

 

 

Contact:           Michael  Christensen
Pass It On - Outdoor Mentors, Inc.
310 E 2nd
Wichita, KS  67202
316-290-8883
mchristensen@outdoormentors.org
http://www.outdoormentors.org

Pass It On - Outdoor Mentors forms 1st

Kansas Chapter

Wichita, KS, January 17, 2018. Pass It On - Outdoor Mentors announced today the formation of the first Pass It On - Outdoor Mentors chapter with the establishment of the Kansas Hunting and Fishing Chapter, based in Emporia, KS. This is a new avenue for Pass It On - Outdoor Mentors to engage more men and women as mentors to give more Kansas youths the opportunity to get outdoors and go hunting and fishing.

Mike Christensen, President of Pass It On - Outdoor Mentors, stated, “As an organization, we have not pursued the chapter model before now. We preferred to work closely with existing hunting and fishing organizations, and will continue to do so, but with the ever growing need to recruit more mentors we have taken this first step towards creating Outdoor Mentor chapters.”

”Pass It On - Outdoor Mentors has always fulfilled a unique niche in the outdoors community linking sportsmen mentors with social service agencies and kids in need,” said Ryan Bronson, Chairman of the Pass It On - Outdoor Mentors  board of directors.  “Establishing locally based chapters to facilitate the fundraising and volunteer roles is the logical progression for our organization.”

With all data pointing towards an ever decreasing population of hunters (the latest survey by USFWS showed a drop of 2 million hunters between 2011 and 2016), mentoring will play a key role in getting more youths outdoors. “Without a mentor taking them and showing them the way, too many of today’s youth will never have the chance to spend time outdoors and learn about our outdoor traditions,” stated Christensen.

“We feel very fortunate to have Eric and the folks behind the Kansas Hunting and Fishing Facebook Group step up to address this need,” said Christensen. The Kansas Hunting and Fishing Facebook Group was started by Eric and designed to bring together Kansas Hunters and Anglers. This group is for the sole purpose of promoting the great Kansas outdoors and currently has over 26,000 members.

Eric stated, “Kansas Hunting and Fishing started as just another Facebook group, but as we have grown, I have realized the potential I had within the group to really make a positive difference in the hunting and fishing community. Before partnering with Pass It On - Outdoor Mentors, I had begun outreach to youth and getting them involved. This partnership is great because we are so similarly focused and it gives us the opportunity to make even more of an impact.”

Pass It On - Outdoor Mentors reached out to Eric and the Kansas Hunting and Fishing group as they were working to find ways to raise funds to promote youth hunting and fishing activities. “The virtual chapter concept is definitely one that will take some refining and work to get it to where it can be a valuable asset in getting more kids outdoors, but we think it is a great start,” commented Eric. In the first week, the chapter has already recruited over 30 volunteers from across the state who are stepping up to become Outdoor Mentors. “We are excited to see where we can go with this idea and how we can leverage social media to address the need for more mentors,” said Christensen.

All Outdoor Mentors are required to be matched to a child through a youth mentoring organization like Big Brothers Big Sisters, which has the resources and expertise to do the necessary background checks and manage the matches to insure the safety of all participants. “Pass It On - Outdoor Mentors provides a wonderful opportunity for youth to experience the great outdoors while building relationships with adults who are interested in engaging in the lives of youth by spending time with them outside of the noise of television, screens, etc. It is a win-win experience for both the mentors and the mentees, while also showcasing the very best of Kansas wildlife and encouraging physical activity,” commented Dan Soliday, CEO of Kansas Big Brothers Big Sisters.

To become an Outdoor Mentor or for more information about the Pass It On - Outdoor Mentors program, contact Pass It On - Outdoor Mentors on their website at http://www.outdoormentors.org.

About Pass It On - Outdoor Mentors

Pass It On - Outdoor Mentors is a Wichita, Kansas-based national organization dedicated to providing children with mentors who will share with them the experiences of traditional outdoor activities. The heart of the group's mission is to give children opportunities to connect with nature that they more than likely won't have without a mentor showing them the way. Partnering with organizations with like-minded conservation and youth participation efforts like Big Brothers Big Sisters, Pheasants Forever, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Delta Waterfowl, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the National Wild Turkey Federation, among others, volunteers with a passion for the outdoors can give a child the chance to go fish, hunt, or simply spend time in the fields with a caring adult. For more information about Pass It On - Outdoor Mentors, please visit www.outdoormentors.org.

 

Outdoor Mentors Needed!

Big Brothers Big Sisters always has a list of kids waiting for a mentor. It is estimated that here in Kansas, over 60,000 youths fit the profile of the youth being served by BBBS.

Here at Pass It On - Outdoor Mentors, we work to recruit mentors, men and women, who will step up and spend time with a child outdoors, hunting and fishing. Too many of the kids being served by youth mentoring organizations like BBBS will never have the chance to experience the thrill of a hunt unless a mentor makes it possible for them.

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One young man currently on the waiting list is Gage. I first met Gage when he attended a Hunter Education class we hosted last August. Gage was attentive and well-behaved throughout the class, asking questions and showing interest in the subject matter.

During the special doe season in October, Gage joined us on a hunt in SE KS with a couple of volunteers. We had 12 kids out that weekend at various locations, but Gage was the only one to come home with a deer. He was hunting with Shannon and Mark and they had a number of does in a field of tall grass and weeds. They asked him if he had a clear shot on one of the does and told him to take the shot when he was ready. But when the gun fired and the deer scattered, the guides weren’t certain which one of the does Gage had targeted. After a short time to give the doe time to expire, they found her with a well-placed shot not far from where she had stood before the shot. When Gage met his mom after the hunt, she was just as excited, if not more so, than Gage.

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The next day, I got a call from Gage’s mom, asking about having the doe mounted for him. After all, it was Gage’s first deer and she wanted to give him the mount for Christmas. It’s pretty special when a mother will give her son that kind of gift.

The folks at the Governor’s Ringneck Classic invite Pass It On - Outdoor Mentors to bring 2 of our youth hunters to the event each year. I usually try to select one who is matched and one from the waiting list. Gage was an easy selection. Each youth hunter receives a lifetime Kansas hunting license and a lifetime membership in Pheasants Forever.

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Gage and Angel, the other youth hunter, spent the Friday afternoon before the hunt, burning through round after round at the 5-stand course.

Gage also got to meet and talk with Nick Hoffman, a fiddle player from Nashville and host of Nick’s Wild Ride which airs on the Outdoor Channel, to discuss their shared musical interests. Nick even gave Gage his cell phone number and encouraged him to reach out with questions.

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Gage and Angel both handled themselves well on the hunt, demonstrating safe gun handling and working well with the other youth hunters and guides in their group. On the way home from Colby that Sunday, we hit a few WIHA fields, and again the boys handled themselves well in the field.

The problem is that Gage will have very limited chances to go again. We try to get kids on the waiting list as many opportunities as we can, but there are only so many opportunities and so many more kids.

That’s where an Outdoor Mentor comes in. We need to find a mentor who will get matched to Gage and take him hunting and fishing. And not just Gage. We have lots of other boys and girls who would welcome the chance to spend time outdoors, hunting and fishing and sharing that time with a mentor who would teach them to become responsible outdoorsmen/women.

POWDERHOOK RECEIVES 2017 SHIFT AWARD

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 6, 2017
Contact: Eric Dinger  
eric@powderhook.com

POWDERHOOK RECEIVES 2017 SHIFT AWARD

The SHIFT Awards recognize individuals, initiatives, or organizations that make innovative, impactful and replicable contributions to conservation through human-powered outdoor recreation.

JACKSON HOLE, WY The Center for Jackson Hole today announced Nebraska-based startup Powderhook as the recipient of the 2017 SHIFT Award in the "Technology" category.

To determine Award nominees, SHIFT researchers identified more than 300 individuals or initiatives from around North America (found here) that leveraged outdoor recreation for conservation gains. Further evaluations were then made of more than 130 initiatives in six categories: Non-Profit Leadership, Business Leadership, Public Land-Management Innovation, Technology, Youth Engagement and Adventure Athlete.

SHIFT’s evaluators then ranked each initiative or individual according to the criteria found here.

The Awards are part of SHIFT’s commitment to showcasing on-the-ground work that is successfully meeting challenges at the nexus of outdoor recreation and conservation in communities across the country.

Powderhook was chosen from a group of finalists including fellow tech startup Hipcamp, along with American Conservation Experience’s WildSNAP, and NIC’s YourPassNow.

According to founder, Eric Dinger, the award is important recognition for the innovative approach Powderhook has taken to growing outdoor participation. “If you’re a hunter, angler, or shooter, there is a really strong chance you had a mentor. Our Digital Mentoring program is one way we can grow the number of people offering mentorship, and thus the chances someone can easily find a mentor. Today’s new participants are dealing with completely different circumstances than did generations before them, from the prevalence of mobile technology to urbanization, lack of time, and access challenges. The success of Digital Mentoring is proof we can continue to pass along our heritage in new ways,” said Dinger.

Digital Mentoring was made possible through a partnership between Powderhook, Pass it On! Outdoor Mentors, and the Cabela's Outdoor Fund. For more information, or to become a Digital Mentor, search Powderhook in your App Store or Google Play.

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Photo [Courtesy of Powderhook]

About Powderhook
Powderhook promises to help people get outdoors more often. The Powderhook app and website are a one-stop place to find local, current information and expertise simply not available anywhere else. Our mission is ‘Access for All,’ which means we’re bringing all the local updates, groups, trips, events, and spots we can into one simple-to-use resource. For more information, visit us at www.powderhook.com.

Delta Waterfowl Launches Hunting Mentor Recognition Program

In effort to bolster declining waterfowl hunter numbers, Delta Waterfowl is launching a Mentor Recognition Program. The new initiative will raise awareness about the critical need to recruit new hunters and reward people who share their love of waterfowl hunting with others.

"We're trying to incentivize existing waterfowl hunters to take someone new hunting," said Joel Brice, vice president of waterfowl and hunter recruitment programs for Delta Waterfowl. "It's very rewarding to introduce new people to waterfowl hunting. We want to recognize and celebrate mentors."

For more information, visit the Delta Waterfowl website.

2016 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation

The US Fish & Wildlife Service has released the preliminary findings of their National Survey. If you are an angler, the news is pretty good. There was a 16% increase in the number of anglers 16 years of age and older from 2011 to 2016. But for hunters, the number is down by 16%, from 13.5 million hunters to 11.7 million.

Only 5% of the US population 16 and older went hunting in 2016. If we hope to see future generations participate in hunting like we do today, major efforts must be put forth to save the sport.

I don't want to think about the ramifications of hunting going away. But with only 5% of the population participating, anti-hunting forces continuing their campaigns it doesn't look good.

We have posted about the efforts of the Council to Advance Hunting & Shooting Sports and their National R3 Plan. I urge everyone to get involved. Mentoring can play a key role insuring the future of hunting for generations to come.

Peer-to-Peer Mentoring

There is a great article by Tom Keer that was first published in Ruffed Grouse Society magazine talking about peer-to-peer mentoring. (Click here for the RGS Facebook page).

Quoting from article,

Think about it. Our next generation
is highly social and digitally connected.
About 2.3 billion people use nearly 1,000
different social media platforms to share
information. YouTube alone has over a
billion users, with hundreds of millions
of hours of video consumed every day.
Theirs is an inter-connected version of
show-and-tell, meaning that our next
generation is probably more comfortable
learning from a peer than a mentor. While
my efforts as a teacher/mentor reach some
young adults, a greater number could be
reached through peers. The generation
gap is bridged, lessons are learned and
a new generation of young bird hunters
carries the torch onward.

You can read the whole article here. As we look at the work ahead of us to reverse the trend of declining numbers of hunters, this is another approach to getting more folks outdoors.