Agencies, Community Sponsors Join to Educate Youth about the Outdoors
BCFS Health and Human Services-Abilene collaborated with the Big Country Children’s Benefit Hunt on an outdoor hunting expedition that will provide an educational opportunity for youth to learn about the responsibilities of firearm safety, hunting safety, and basic outdoor survival training. Youth were nominated by Child Protective Services (CPS) staff based on each youth’s case file and consultations with each youth’s case manager, foster family, and experienced hunters from within CPS and the community.
BCFS-Abilene volunteer Marshall Davidson, an experienced outdoorsman who lives by the values, trainings, ethics, and ideals of hunting, believes teens should be exposed to wildlife and nature, and the seriousness of firearm safety as they enter adulthood.
“I’ve worked with kids for a long time, and I feel like hunting, fishing, gaming…is not really something that a lot of them are exposed to, especially for youth who have not had a steady parent figure,” says Davidson. “We really want to teach them about the importance of firearm safety, wildlife, and being outdoors.”
After a rigorous vetting process, in order to go on the hunt, the selected six boys and one girl attended a daylong hunting certification education training approved by Texas Parks and Wildlife, and administered by Davidson, a certified Hunter Education Instructor. Youth learned the details of firearm and hunting safety, hunting ethics, and wildlife conservation, earning hunter certifications and licenses to hunt in the state of Texas. The young lady in the group claimed a gift card as the winner of a shooting competition during the training.
On the hunt, each youth will be paired with an experienced hunting guide, and accompanied by volunteers who will help ensure a safe environment. Everyone on the hunt will wear daylight fluorescent orange vests while engaged in hunting activities.
Several community sponsors help make the hunting experience possible. Special thanks to:
- Karon Bingaman Hall & Harley Hall
- Taylor County Child Welfare Board
- Stephens Wild Game Processing
- Double Barrel Outfitters
- Trophy Case Taxidermy
- Walmart #535
- Market Street/United Supermarket
- Vagabond Pizza
- Rodeway Inn
- Keith & Propst Law Firm
- Clayton’s Monogramming
- Thompson Graphics
- McDuffee Media
- Lawrence Hall Abilene
The Big Country Children’s Benefit Hunt (BCCBH) is a hunting club conceived to take youth in DFPS Conservatorship and others on outdoors experiences to include hunting, fishing and camping. BCCBH is not part of nor sponsored by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Marshall Davidson has brought the BCCBH under the BCFS Health and Human Services label in Abilene. No youth involved in BCFS Health and Human Services’ programs have participated in BCCBH.
For information about the Big Country Children’s Benefit Hunt, contact Marshall Davidson at (325) 232-4047. To learn more about BCFS programs and services in Abilene, visit DiscoverBCFS.net/youthcenters/abilene.