OQUOSSOC – Educating future generations about their sporting heritage is a goal of the Rangeley Region Guides’ and Sportsman’s Association and Trout Unlimited. Association members learned about some of the educational experiences provided by the two organizations at a meeting on Nov. 17.

The association has offered the six-week Junior Guides program, open to students ages 9 to 13, for 10 years. The 38 participants in 2005 learned about ecology, fishing and fly-tying, as well as archery, camping and canoeing skills.

The advanced group spent a special day fishing on Kennebago Lake. The credit for the program goes to volunteers and Director Stephanie Palmer.

The association will launch an additional program for young people, the Live the Legend tour, in July 2006. Shelby Rousseau said the tour will provide an opportunity for four or five teens, ages 13 to 15, to learn about the history of fly-fishing through hands-on experiences and to use the experiences to mentor other teens about the region’s sporting and fishing heritage.

The plan is for a three-day, two-night fly-fishing tour of the Rapid River, Middle Dam, Upper Dam and Kennebago Lake. The tour is open to students at the five schools in proximity to the Rangeley Lakes Region.

Participants will be selected on the basis of a short essay about their outdoors experiences and why the tour would benefit their personal growth. Interested students should contact Seth Laliberte at Rangeley Lakes Regional School.

Trout Unlimited is offering additional opportunities. Aldro French of the Mollyocket Chapter announced the introduction of TU’s First Cast program in the area. Instructor Seth Laliberte will provide classroom and field instruction for interested middle school students.

TU’s Greg Ponte of West Gardiner shared his commitment for the Maine Trout Camp program that he helped initiate two years ago. Based on a TU program in Pennsylvania, the Maine Trout Camp is dedicated to building tomorrow’s conservation leaders by giving teens a solid foundation in conservation, entomology and biology while keeping it fun and interesting with fly-fishing.

Activities include dissecting frozen fish under the guidance of fish pathologists, a tour of the Embden Hatchery, a half-day driftboat trip on the Kennebec and information about the Endangered Species Act. The camp is based at Evergreen Camp on the Kennebec River. There is a two-to-one ratio of instructors to students.

Maine Trout Camp accepts 12 boys and girls ages 14 to 17. Participants do not have to be from Maine and do not have to know how to fish. Each applicant must submit an essay about why he or she wants to attend the camp and hopes to benefit from it, along with a recommendation from a student counselor or science teacher.

Scholarships are available and all equipment is provided, if necessary. Applications can be downloaded from www.troutcamp.tumaine.org or ordered by calling Ponte at 724-2861.

Ponte also described the TU Embrace-a-Stream program that sends out $250,000 nationwide in grants for worthy projects.

The next association meeting will be Thursday, Dec. 15, (the third Thursday) at the clubhouse on Old Skiway Road. The evening’s Christmas party will feature a Yankee swap. Members who want to participate should bring a gift valued at $5 to $10 (women should bring a gift for a woman; men should bring one for a man).

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