Pheasants Forever outdoors youth day in Wyoming County, New York.
By Kurt Bond, Regional Representative
The Wyoming County chapter of Pheasants Forever in New York is approaching its 15-year anniversary, serving Wyoming and Genesee Counties. The chapter has made its mark engaging new generations of hunter-conservationists. Nestled next to the eastern Great Lakes, this region of New York may be best known for setting snowfall records. But outdoor traditions are alive and well thanks, in part, to this dedicated group of volunteers.
Over the last decade, with support from community members like the Bob Osborne family, volunteers of the Wyoming County chapter have made it their mission to introduce young people to the joy of outdoor pursuits. Held in September, the Bob Osborne Memorial Youth Day is an annual event accommodating up to 40 kids ages 12 to 14. Participants rotate through nine learning stations covering trapping, deer search and recovery, outdoor survival, archery, learn-to-shoot, beekeeping, air rifles and upland bird hunting.
Building on the success of their youth day and recognizing that recruitment and retention require more community involvement than one great event each year, Wyoming County PF made the decision to begin supporting local school shooting teams. It was a natural progression and a way to keep in touch with the youth day participants. But the chapter requests something in return from the high school students they support: volunteerism.
For the chapter, it’s a way to bring their youth engagement full circle and continue building a lasting volunteer legacy. Not only is Wyoming County PF recruiting new hunters; they are recruiting new PF chapter leaders and mentors.
The future of conservation and hunting depends on our ability to pass on our values and appreciation of wildlife and wild places to future generations. The passionate volunteers of Wyoming County PF have fully embraced this challenge and responsibility, leading the way in their western New York community. Here’s to 15 more years!
This story originally appeared in the 2021 Fall Issue of the Pheasants Forever Journal. If you enjoyed it and would like to be the first to read more great upland content like this, become a Pheasants Forever member today!