On the Verge Between Lost and Wild | A Teen Summit Reflection

Beck is a member of the Lackawanna Valley chapter in Pennsylvania. He is also the president of the Lackawanna Valley TU Teens club. 2016 was his first Summit and he has been a productive member of the Youth Leadership Council since this summer. The YLC is the volunteer body made up of TU Teens that helps to set the direction of TU’s Youth Education Initiative. Members of the YLC are passionate leaders bringing the mission of TU to their local communities while working on a broader scale to contribute to TU’s Youth Education Initiative at the national level.
On the Verge Between Lost and Wild
by Beck Chickillo
Ever since I was six years old, I have had some type of fantasy in my head about Montana being the worlds most foreknown and foremost trout factory. It wasn’t until June of this summer that I discovered for myself that “The Last Best Place” itself was just as wild as its elusive fish. If you’re a trout bum and haven’t ever been west of the Mississippi, then you need to stop settling for that West Branch of the Delaware. I’ll tell you right now, that river may very well be the most western stream on the east coast, along with it’s hard charging fish, but it just does not compare to the exquisite landscape along with its sparkling streams with magnificent fish.
As soon as I got off the plane with my friend Erich, I remember looking around and thinking to myself, “Clearly my dad has never been out here if he thinks fishing on the West Branch is a close match to fishing out in Montana”. We had about an 85-mile drive to camp from the airport, but that didn’t matter because everything around me seemed so contemporary. Once arriving at camp I was taken back at the snow-capped mountain range behind the gargantuan Georgetown Lake. I was rather impressed how quickly I and everyone else got familiar with one another; after only a few hours it was like we knew each other our entire lives. At this point there wasn’t a single one of us who wasn’t eager to wet a line. Within the first hour of arriving at camp several summiteers, myself included had managed to put a very respectable Georgetown rainbow in the net.
Throughout the first couple days of the summit, I was amazed at the ideas my fellow summiteers had to better our own dilemmas back home dealing with our local TU chapters and fisheries. Everyone came equipped with these miraculous ideas which made everything flow perfectly during our YLC planning meetings. Even though we would always venture out to some jewel of a spring creek to stick a few fish after our planning meetings, we would almost always take more time than allotted despite the growing desire to get back out on the water. Out of all the team building exercises assigned to us, fishing appeared to be a far more sophisticated way to bond us summiteers together than chasing a tennis ball blindfolded across a field in attempt to find it before the other person full on smash into you. Sure it was hysterical to watch, but I would rather watch a glamorous trout smash my fly off the surface of the water.
A team building exercise that Beck loved so much. :) Beck is pictured to the right.
Despite the fabulous fishing if there is one thing I’ll remember till the day I die from the summit, it was the day we drove a good hour and change  from camp at Georgetown, then proceeded to drive 30 miles on a windy dirt road into the backcountry of Montana. Reason being was to complete a conservation project which involved us building a fence on Harveys Creek to keep cattle from damaging the stream bank. So here we are hauling these approximately 6 foot long poles through the woods for quite some distance, while others are helping with the construction of the fence in the middle of some swampy area. Everyone is working efficiently because the quicker we get done the more time we have allotted to smash a few cuttys and hopefully a bull trout. Just about everyone caught these little jewels as I like to call these fish. I was more than happy to build that fence because had it not been repaired it would have been more than likely that the stream would have turned into a stopping ground for cattle, therefore destroying the stream which would ultimately lead to wild fish diminishing.
My logic is that once you fish a certain fishery a number of times you develop an appreciation for it which also means you will want to protect, conserve, and restore it if need be. This can also go for any fishery with a sought after species such as wild brown trout for example, people wouldn’t want to see them diminish obviously, so therefor they will want to conserve whatever fishery that maybe. On the haul back to camp Rob hadn’t even got 5 miles off that dirt country road before we popped a tire 25 miles back in the heart of the backcountry of Montana with everyone else far ahead of us. At this point nobody could believe this was actually happening at the moment. My friend Bryant had this utter look of despair on his face and proceeded to ask if this was some type of team building exercise. Everyone bursted out laughing expect for Rob who looked like he was about to murder him. The only thing left for us to do was change that tire, and what a project it was. The whole ride home we had something to talk about, not to mention it made everyone in that car so much closer than we already were. When we finally got back to camp we realized that the best part of the day was getting stuck on that dirt road 25 miles back in the heart of the backcountry of Montana. Had it not been for Mr. Rob Shane we would still be out there lost to this very day. 



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