Reflections from the Teen Summit | Dylan

Dylan is pictured above with his "monster rainbow" he caught at Georgetown Lake.
By Dylan Philipson
I no longer judge a fishing trip by the size or amount of fish I catch. I value flyfishing more for the beautiful places I visit to fish, and the amazing adventures to be found at the tip of my flyrod. However, I knew I was going to have an amazing week at the Trout Unlimited Teen Summit, when only a few hours into the Summit, I found myself up to my knees in the marshy water of Georgetown lake holding the biggest trout of my life.
With that first fish under my belt, I was ready to get to know the other summiteers and start talking about conservation. I am a returning Summiteer and YLC member and we help Tara and Franklin plan the Summit. This year, we had decided to introduce the concept of the Youth Leadership Council, or YLC to the new summiteers earlier in the week. It was a huge success. The new summiteers were extremely enthusiastic about stepping up and taking responsibility of the future of TU. On only the second day of the summit, we already had first time summiteers volunteering to speak during the discussions. Everyone had something to say about conservation in their area. I could feel the motivation growing with each new and creative idea. Whether that energy was coming from the excitement of become a part of Trout Unlimited, or from the visions of cutthroat trout swimming through everyone’s minds, I couldn’t tell. 
Georgetown Lake as viewed from Camp Watanopa where the Teen Summit was held. Photo by Tara Granke.
Over the course of the Summit, everyone had a chance to fish Georgetown Lake and several different streams in both the dry heat of the afternoon, and the frigid temperatures of the mornings. On the first morning, those who were able to overcome their numb fingers and the pesky but hard fighting white fish, were rewarded with some beautiful little brown trout. Others were a little put off by the frost and lack of famed cutthroat trout. Nonetheless everyone would jump at the chance to get back out on the river. The drives back to camp were often filled with glorified stories told by summiteers with bright eyes and glowing smiles about catching their first cutthroat trout.
At the Summit, we focused a lot on conservation. Throughout the week we heard from Costa and a few local organizations about conservation success stories. We also got a chance to discuss issues back home and how we thought it would be best to go about helping. Midway through the Summit, we even got a chance to get hands on and help out with a conservation project. We drove out to a little creak to help build a fence to prevent cows from getting into the creek. After seeing how small the creek was, everyone was very surprised to learn from the fisheries biologist that it was one of the healthiest bull trout streams in the area. Recent tests had discovered forty to sixty bull trout every one hundred meters.
We ended the week with a group of extremely motivated kids and a list of projects to increase outreach and draw more teens into the program. I am truly honored to be a TU teen and part of the YLC, it’s amazing see what this group of teens can do.
Dylan is a member of the Clear Fork River chapter in Ohio. This is his second Summit and he has been a representative for the Youth Leadership Council (YLC) since June 2015. 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, from his reflection.

Read other reflections like the one from returning Summiteer extraordinnaire Andrew D.

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


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