The Rivers Conservation & Fly Fishing Youth Camp is a residential educational camp. It is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited and is hosted by the Cumberland Valley chapter at the Allenberry Resort Inn in Boiling Springs, PA. The camp began as a vision in 1995 with the discussions of the late Dr. Jack Beck and the late E.S. “Inky” Moore Jr. It has evolved into an intense multi-day program for youth between the ages of 14 and 17. Participants learn from experts and professionals in various conservation fields from across Pennsylvania and the nation.
The purpose of the camp is to educate students in the importance of coldwater conservation and how it relates to everyday living. Through rigorous student selection, the camp attempts to select today’s student leaders. It strives to prepare them to serve as tomorrow’s leaders in their communities and in conservation.
The classes are based on college-level coursework that has been distilled to provide the students with a background in fundamental science. Classes include principles of ecology, hydrogeology, aquatic vertebrate and invertebrate sampling, hydrology, trout behavior, trout stream entomology, the biology of pollution, and the politics of conservation and the effects of humans on the Chesapeake Bay.
This camp is the learning experience of a lifetime, but it is not all work. There are hands-on classes in fly tying, fly casting, streamside ethics, wading safety, streamside botany, and habitat restoration. Students also experience fishing on the world-famous Yellow Breeches Creek. Fishing sessions are conducted both mornings and evenings. The students are advised and tutored by ghillies (guides) comprised of Trout Unlimited members. The angling is conducted in the Catch-and-Release section of the Yellow Breeches at Allenberry, made famous by the writing of Vince Marinaro, Charlie Fox, Ed Shenk, Ed Koch, and others.
The camp is geared toward youth who already possess some basic fishing experience but who want to develop those skills further and learn more about fly fishing for trout. Young people who are student leaders and who exhibit a strong interest in conservation and the natural world are encouraged to apply.
Each applicant must submit a written essay about why he or she would like to attend the camp, and the name of a student counselor or science teacher with an address and a telephone number. Even though the school is subsidized by donors and sponsors, there is a fee. Current information on the fees are included in the application. Organizational sponsorship of students is strongly encouraged.
The camp is held in the third full week in June. Specific dates are available on the application.
Check the camp’s web site, www.Riverscamp.com for photos, the student application, camp history, and more!
The camp faculty is a list of leaders in their respective fields. They come from all walks of life and have an interest in conservation. State agencies such as the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, Department of Environmental Protection, and Department of Conservation and Natural Resources provide some of the faculty. The camp is honored to have Dr. Robert Behnke of Colorado State University, considered by many the foremost trout biologist in the world, among the faculty. Leading experts in the fly fishing community volunteer their time and talents to provide a faculty that is well-rounded.
In large part, the Rivers Conservation & Fly Fishing Youth Camp has been made possible through the efforts of many individual volunteers and sponsors. Additional Trout Unlimited chapters throughout the state contribute flies, tools, materials, and scholarships, and help to make the camp a success. Many instructors donate their time, equipment, and expertise to provide this experience.
In August 2001, the Rivers Conservation & Fly Fishing Youth Camp received the Volunteer Conservationist of the Year Award, sponsored by Trout Unlimited.