On Saturday, April 1, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation held their annual Susanville Spike Camp at the Lassen County Fairgrounds for county children of all ages.
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, commonly known as RMEF, is an organization focused around conservation and hunting heritage outreach.
Many members of the foundation are invested in the future, regarding both nature and today’s youth.
Spike Camp was an event oriented around the importance of time spent outdoors.
RMEF member and Spike Camp coordinator Tim Martin said, “This camp is about getting kids off the couch to realize there’s stuff outside.”
Saturday’s event consisted of a variety of activities at stations the children rotated through during the day. Some of said station activities included archery, paintball, hunter education and an inflatable BB-gun range.
Children between ages 2 and 16 were divided into age groups and were able to experience each station and reap the benefits.
The event also saw The Lassen County Sheriff’s Office, Cal Fire and the local forest service. Martin explained that the exposure to personnel at events such as Spike Camp allows children to associate individuals in uniform positively.
The sheriff’s department brought a couple off-road vehicles for children to play on, while the fire department explained some of their tools and later allowed the youth to spray a fire hose.
The archery station and paintball course allowed the youth to handle bows and paintball guns while directly supervised by a helper. Both stations were provided by Shattered Nock Archery Club and allowed the children to understand how to use the equipment responsibly.
Another station saw Larry Harris, from Reno, work with certified hunter safety
instructor Dave Henderson to teach the children the importance of hunter safety with LaserShot.
With the activities providing entertainment and education for Lassen County’s youth, RMEF fulfilled one of their most fundamental parts of their mission: ensuring the future of hunting heritage.
According to the foundation, “For two generations, this youth event has drawn hundreds of young participants and their families, from Southern Oregon, Northern California and Nevada.”
The foundation believes that the annual Spike Camp is some of the children’s first introduction to hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities.
In addition to the experience, participants were also entered into raffles for an assortment of prizes. Each child was entered into a raffle for a gun, and additional tickets for additional prizes were available for purchase.
Overall, the 2017 Spike Camp corralled more than 180 children and provided lasting memories for all.