Reflections from the Teen Summit | Cameron

Day by Day at the Teen Summit by Cameron Furr
Camp Watanopa, Georgetown Lake, Montana
This was a real camp with real camp accommodations. We had eight bunk beds per cabin, no AC or heat, and bathrooms across the way. We were fortunate to have a chef cook for us, and a really good chef at that! The climate was like a GA winter day, but more intense. 37 degrees in the morning and 81 degrees midday. We saw plenty of animals just wandering around, ranging from moose to bald eagles. This place was truly beautiful. 
Moose in Georgetiown Lake. Photo by Andrew Dang
We arrived in Missoula, Montana on Sunday and drove out to the camp about two hours away. After settling in, everyone was excited to… go fishing! We walked about 50 yards to Georgetown Lake and tried to wade in the water. Nobody expected that every step you took while in the water you sunk to your knees! It was very difficult to walk around and fish but we all loved it anyways. 
After eating dinner, we all sat down and introduced ourselves and did some TU activities. We talked about who and what was most important in the TU community and learned about the Youth Leadership Council (YLC).
Monday morning we woke up at 5:30 in the morning, it was just 37 degrees when we drove to Rock Creek to fish. Many people caught fish, except for me and all of us were freezing our butts off. The eyes on my pole were covered in frost and I had to clear it out a multiple times. That's how cold it was in the mornings! 
After fishing and breakfast, we did some team building activities ranging from passing a plate around full of water to finding tennis balls blindfolded. Then we moved onto Youth Leadership Council, or YLC planning. I personally liked this the most. We talked about what the problems are in our communities involving getting more kids involved into TU and how to fix that problem. Great ideas were shared and many made it into the YLC goals for this year! 
We also had a presentation from Ryan Schmaltz on the fish of Montana. He showed us taxidermies of fish and then walked us though on how to dissect a fish, a Perch to be exact.
Ryan also helped with our technical workshops on casting, citizen science, and fly tying. We discussed problems facing our fishing communities, fly casting instruction, and fly tying. After settling down with dinner, Matt Devlin showed us films from the Montana Film Festival. 
Fish dissection with Montana Fish and Game. Photo by Tara Granke
Tuesday we fished at the lake in the morning and heard from Andrew Loffredo about the TU Costa 5 Rivers Program. Then we moved onto our service project at Harvey Creek. We built wooden fences around a certain part of the creek that is home to the endangered Bull Trout to keep the cattle out. 
Now when I say we built a fence, I mean we all grabbed a 6’ post around 9” in diameter and hauled it a mile and a half through the woods, crossing multiple streams, going up and down hills, and finally we set everything in the mushy-est part of the field. We all sunk to our knees holding up wooden post for someone to drive nails through them. After we made multiple trips back and forth from the wood pile to the job site, we finally finished the fence. 
Then of course, we fished there too. This was where I caught my one and only fish. I read the stream and noticed fish rising to get insects, and then I looked down to see a whole bunch of ants crawling everywhere. I caught my first cutthroat on a black ant, it was about 6.5”. 
Summiteers and staff assemble posts to keep cattle out of a stream that is vital habitat to the endangered Bull Trout. Photo by Tara Granke
Today we visited the Upper Clark Fork Superfund site to learn about the environmental disaster they faced and how it was being fixed over many years. We also learned about mining and the history of that area. We went to the huge Berkeley Pit in Butte, MT and learned about the copper mines and the Ph level of the water pit, which is very acidic. On the way we stopped at the Butte Visit Center and saw the display on historic flies used in Montana and the famous people that tied the flies. 
When we got back to camp we had a group discussion about the problems facing our fishing community and proposed ideas on how to solve them or get more people involved to care about them. We set projects and due dates into place and put people in charge with a team to join them. This is when the adults stepped back and us kids got to work. This was when the YLC shined the most; we all put our heads together and came up with possible solutions.  
Thursday was the departure day and was mostly cleaning up our mess. Many people got in their last fishing hours of Montana. It was an amazing experience that I will never forget.
At the Clark Fork River Superfund restoration site. Photo by Tara Granke
Cameron is a member of the Cohutta chapter in Georgia. He is also a peer mentor at the Georgia Trout Camp for young TU Teens. 2016 was his first Summit and he has been a very 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.
Read more about the Summit from the Youth Program Director, Franklin Tate's reflection.

Read other reflections like the one from returning Summiteer and monster rainbow catcher, Dylan P

And Gavin's reflection which focuses on their endangered bull trout stream restoration project.


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