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Florida Fish Busters
’ Bulletin
 September 2013
Florida Youth Conservation Centers on a roll
By Bob Wattendorf
Momentum. The Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network (FYCCN),whose goal is to create the next generation that cares about fish and wildlifeconservation, is on a roll. This bold initiative sponsored by the Florida Fish andWildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is dedicated to providing a statewidenetwork of sustainable places where youth and their families can participate inoutdoor activities that inspire conservation stewardship and a love of fabulousnatural resources.The FYCCN is about helping kids develop a passion for nature and theoutdoors. At a time when participation in traditional outdoor activities is on thedecline and obesity and other health problems, including attention deficit disorder,diabetes, asthma and heart disease, are leading to worries that this generation maybe the first to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents, FYCCN offers abright ray of hope.Thanks to many friends
beneficent donors, excited partners, passionatevolunteers and outstanding leadership
what was a bold idea a few years ago isnow a reality.One of those friends is famed marine wildlife artist and conservationist GuyHarvey. Steve Stock, president of Guy Harvey Inc. and the Guy Harvey Ocean
Foundation, recently presented a check for $50,000 to the Wildlife Foundation of Florida to help fund FYCCN saltwater fishing camps that infuse in youthconservation ethics and a sense of stewardship related to the sport of fishing.
“We are proud and excited to partner with
FYCCN in furtherance of our
marine educational programs and goals,” said Dr. Harvey. “This partnership will
help us to teach and develop the next generation of responsible Florida sportsmen
and women.”
“The importance of developing in our children a strong personal connection
with n
ature and a conservation ethic to match cannot be overstated,” said
“The future of the state’s natural resources depends on it.”
 With help such as this, the FYCCN is expanding its network of youth centersto teach kids basic principles of conservation and outdoor ethics. They also stresstraditional outdoor recreational skills that include fishing, shooting sports, boating,wildlife viewing and more. Visit FYCCN.org for more information.
FYCCN is a true “network.”
The effectiveness of over 225 statewide partnersworking together is creating the base necessary to make a difference in the lives of 
Florida’s youth. Parks and Recreation departments, nature centers, volunteer
groups, clubs and environmental organizations, private landowners, sporting goodsstores and and people who want to help with programming all are contributing tothe cause.By implementing the network along the lines of a hub and spoke structure,FYCCN
includes “Wild Outdoors” centers that offer deep
-woods experiences, as well
as “Near Outdoor” sites
, which offer experiences closer to children in their everydaylives.The "Wild Outdoors" experiences include traditional outdoor activities likefishing, canoeing, shooting sports, hiking, camping and deep-woods orienteering.The "Near Outdoors" experiences may include an urban fishing pond or pier,archery in the schools, a local birding competition, or a habitat program beingtaught in the schools, to name a few.The main strategy for successful implementation of the Network is to connectthe dots from the Near Outdoors programs offered by our urban partners to theseWild Outdoor Florida Youth Conservation Centers.Partnering effectively with local, urban-based programs and assisting themin offering traditional outdoor pursuits connected with conservation is the key tosuccessful implementation of this strategy. Connecting with existing, successfulyouth programs, school systems, clubs, churches, and youth-oriented groupsinterested in traditional outdoor pursuits and conservation provides instant accessto kids.FYCCN is looking to individuals and organizations for help in reaching allcorners of the state and welcomes new partners into the network. Rae Waddell,FYCCN D
irector says, “There are many places in Florida that offer youth the
opportunity to go fishing, hunting, hiking, boating and wildlife viewing. We want towork with these sites to expand their reach through the knowledge, training andresources that are av
ailable through FYCCN.”

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