Good times and tan lines

tube-photo1Each year on the first Sunday of August for as long as I can remember, my family and a bunch of our friends would head out to Morrison Lake for our annual “Lake house party”. This is always a highlight of my year. Who doesn’t love sliding down a giant slide onto a foam raft, finding huge fish (even if sometimes they are dead), digging in the sand, chilling on the pontoon, tubing behind the speedboat,tubing-2 grilling fabulous food and SO much more. One thing that never gets old is when we stop the boat, tell everyone on the tubes to throw their hands up in the air because we are going to take a picture, then hitting the throttle causing everyone to fall off into the lake. By the end of the day our faces are red and our tans are a little darker. We know our tans will eventually fade away, but the memories will last a life time.tubing-3-girls

Jordan Sanger – YCC member

Five Minutes Is All It Takes

blog 2 picFeeling stressed? Overwhelmed? Overly busy? Take a deep breath, a step away from all the craziness that life tends to bring, and take a step outside. I’m no doctor, but you’re most likely long overdue for some ecotherapy. What exactly is this ecotherapy that I speak of? Well, it’s a term given to the stress, anxiety, and depression-reducing benefits that as little as five minutes spent outdoors can offer. There have been numerous studies proving that spending time outside is beneficial to health. Life is too short to be stuck indoors being unhappy, and the great outdoors is just too wonderful not to take advantage of. So take five minutes to watch a sunrise or sunset, and take a few deep breaths of fresh air. Those magnificent colors and clouds in the sky have quite a way of melting away any problems and making them seem much less significant than they did before coming outside. The key to relaxing a little and being happy really can be that simple. Going for a walk and taking in the outdoors can take any stress or anxiety away. A far away, preplanned adventure isn’t always necessary in order to get something great out of being outside. A few steps out of the office or into the backyard will work just fine. Got five minutes on your hands today? Get outside; I promise you won’t regret it.

Marissa Trombley, YCC member – Saginaw


A Walleye Surprise

Walley 2Most kids dread the end of summer for an obvious reason. While I too dread the onset of school, the last week of August always means the annual trip to the southern shores of Lake Superior for a week of fishing, swimming, picking blueberries (if there are any), and rock hunting. I always get the most excited about the fishing prospects. My earliest memories of my time spent at Del-Les Resort, between Paradise and Grand Marais, are of sitting on a dock watching sunfish nibble at a leaf worm. This summer, I was after walleye and bluegill on a nearby inland lake. The first night I was out, I set to work testing some new bluegill harnesses that I had read about and decided to try. I was a little surprised when my 8-foot light action rod with 4-pound test line bent double within ten minutes of trolling. My first thought was that I had hooked a clump of cabbage. However, I soon realized that it was in fact a fish on the end of the line and I grimly considered the chances I had of bringing in a largish pike on a rig meant for bluegill. I eventually coaxed the fish in, and to my surprise and delight, it was a walleye! I did manage to boat a couple of bluegills that night, but I was most excited about the three walleyes I caught, all over 20 inches.

Martin Chown – YCC member, Traverse City

Sports and the Outdoors – One Teenagers View

photo 1Not too long ago, my baseball season ended — falling just short of winning a state championship title.   It was a heartbreaking loss in the State Finals to Sterling Heights Christian Parkway held at Michigan State University.   Being from a small school in the small town of Portland, this was an amazing accomplishment!  To put this into perspective, St. Patrick High School has a total of 89 students, 47 of them being guys.    Along with baseball, I play basketball, run cross country, and play golf.  However, these four activities do not match up to the love I have for the outdoors.  

photo 2When I was 10 years old, I was given my first two guns:  a .410 and a .22 long rifle.  From that day on, my passion for the sport has only grown.  Through my outdoor experiences, I have gained much respect for all wildlife.  I am also a fisherman — a BIG fisherman.  Anything from panfish to longnose gar to Steelhead.  With nearly hauling in the state record longnose gar this summer (it popped off my hook at the side of the boat before we could get a picture, but we got the measurement…. 60 inches! (7″ more than the state record), my quest has only gotten greater.  If it’s in the river, it’s on my rod.  Like most fisherman, my pride trophy fish is bass.  Living right next to the Grand River (the longest river in the state) it’s only fitting that I absorb all avenues of fishing.  Along with using rod and reel, I bowfish for carp and redhorse suckers.


Being an outdoorsman, I have enjoyed passing this trait down to my 8 year old nephew.  I gave him his first two guns two weeks ago, which were MY first guns.  I also bought him his first fishing rod.  Taking him squirrel hunting and bass fishing has given me the opportunity to share my passion and experiences.  There’s no better feeling  than that first jolt and then the drop in the rod tip, especially when it’s in the hands of a young boy.  Being able to pull yourself away from the hustle and bustle of life is what I truly appreciate about the outdoors.  Sitting back in peaceful silence watching nature do what it does best, that’s my love for the outdoors.

Graham Smith – YCC Member, Lyons MI


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End of Summer Bucket List

It seems like yesterday we were flying out of the school doors as soon as the final bell rang. We were elated to finally had freedom from our teacher’s lectures, the excruciating hand cramps that come from note taking, and hours of homework. We said our farewells to dear friends with the promise to hang out all summer long and the shared goal of never running out of new adventures. Now, with September just around the corner, we worry about the meager amount of days left to fulfill our goal. We are disappointed that we missed out on all the new experiences on our bucket lists. With the first day of school slowly encroaching, we let ourselves fall back into the bland, school-year mindset. But, fear not! We can still soak in these last weeks of summer! It’s never too late to create a summer bucket list!

Ten Adventures To Do Before Labor Day!

1.  Go camping and have a bonfire!

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2.  Go kayaking! Be sure to bring a life jacket and a buddy!

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3.  Climb a tree! All you need is a good tree and a partner to keep an eye on you as you ascend!

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4.  Go fishing!

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5.  Find a river to swim in! Go on a really hot day so it’s extra refreshing! Also, make sure the current isn’t too strong.

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6.  Host a picnic!

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7.  Go for a hike!

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8.  Go for a challenging run with a friend!

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9.  Watch the sunset!

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10.  Build an awesome sand castle! Invite friends so you can team up and make it a sand castle building contest!

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DOCUMENT ALL OF YOUR ADVENTURES— Always take videos and pictures of all your experiences. Not only is it fun to capture the moment, but it’s really great to look back at what you’ve done over the summer.

Nicole Jarvis – YCC member


Saving Bats!

Did you know that one little brown bat can eat 60 medium-sized moths or over 1000 mosquito-sized insects in one night? Because bats are so important and critical to our environment, I recently decided to take on the mission of building bat houses for my Eagle Scout Project in Boy Scouts.

I am a member of Boy Scout Troop 763, which meets at First Baptist Church, in Midland, MI. I have been in Scouting for 11 years!  Ever since I was a Cub Scout, I have wanted to build bat houses for my Eagle Scout Project.  I love the outdoors, and especially admire bats in our environment.  Therefore, I was so excited when this project became a reality this past Spring.

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Most bats spend summers in trees, under bridges or in old buildings where they give birth and raise their young. I wanted to build a home that mimics these natural homes for bats who can’t find a space of their own in a forest.  In addition, there is a critical need for these smaller bat houses to be placed in my hometown of Midland.  There is a disease called the White Nose Syndrome that is killing bats in our area due to bats living in large enclosures and spreading the disease to each other.  Providing smaller houses for bats to live in will help to control the spread of the disease.

With the help of other scouts from my Troop, along with some adult volunteers, we recently constructed 8 bat houses. They were built from treated lumber that was donated by the

City of Midland from ash trees that had been cut down. Recycling is always a good thing!  The bat houses will be placed in 5 parks within the City of Midland.  We visited each park in order to choose a bright and sunny location at the edge of the forest where the bat houses will be installed.

The installation of these bat houses in the City Parks will benefit the bats, our community and the families that live there, gardeners, and the ecosystem as a whole. Bat houses give the bats a home and in turn, they will eat thousands of insects.  Bat houses give the bats an alternative to our homes, thus reducing the chance of human to bat contact.

In regards to the current status of my Eagle Scout Project, I will lead a team of volunteers to install the 8 bat houses in the City Parks by the end of this summer. So, if you are ever visiting the parks in Midland and notice my bat houses, stop and take the time to think about these wonderful creatures and the awesome job they do in protecting our environment!

Tyler Squires – YCC member, Midland

Trapped on a Deserted Island

Have you ever been stuck on a deserted island? No? I have. Well I wasn’t really trapped. I was in an intro to field biology class at the Central Michigan University Biology Station, and our adventure for the day was hiking Garden Island.

Garden Island is an uninhabited island in Lake Michigan. It is home to the largest Native American burial ground in North America. We took a boat from Beaver Island to Indian Harbor. First we walked to the Native American burial ground. Our instructor told us about how each family had a special symbol to signify where they were buried it could be as simple as a tipped tree with a scratch in it. You could tell the importance of some of the graves by the way they were decorated. More important people had huts built over their graves with stones sitting on them.

After we viewed the burial ground we walked to the North Shore of the Island. From the North Shore you could see the Upper Peninsula. We sat on the rock beach and ate our lunches. It was crazy to think that nobody had sat where we sat in years.

From the North Shore we decided to hike to Keewaydinoquay Pakawakuk Peschel’s house. She was a medicine woman that had lived on the island years ago, but passed away. People would travel to the island to learn from her. As we were walking to her house we heard music being played. This was strange because we were on a deserted island. Why is there music being played? As we got closer to her house we saw huts that people were clearly living in. When we got to her house there were about 5 people living near her house taking care of it.

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The people were her descendants and live on the island during the summer to take care of her house. We asked them if we could look at her house and they let us. Above the door to her abandoned house there is a sign that says, “This is my heart’s home. If you’re shipwrecked or starving to death you are welcome to share whatever I have. If you are just out for fun please leave equipment and supplies as you find them. I need them to save my life. Megwitch.” We then thanked the people and continued back on our hike to Indian Harbor to be picked up by the boat to take my class back to Beaver Island.

This was such a cool experience to reconnect with nature. Our class didn’t take our cell phones, we were completely disconnected. Walking around in the quiet forest that hadn’t been touched in years was a great experience. That’s how Keewaydinoquay and her relatives want it to be. If you do head to the island leave everything as you find it. Do not take the Native American artifacts, it is their home and you need to respect it.

If you ever want to be stuck on a deserted island, head to Garden Island. Adventure is out there you just need to find it!

Emily Butko – YCC member