All YCA events are programs are community oriented. We open up our events to all businesses willing to support us and we always involve local police & fire departments. We also participate in local Government and Township meetings and it is common for the YCA to provide overviews of what the YCA does to these agencies. We embrace area schools, work closely with teachers, and in general provide an "open" setting for kids of all ages to participate. We strongly encourage family participation. Although the YCA has core supporters called "Advocates", being an Advocate is not a requirement for participation.
The YCA along with the State Department of Natural Resources and Conservation Police offer a variety of official Hunter Education programs. At these classes, we utilize a number of different training tools including professional Training Firearms. A key theme at all YCA events is safety; this includes boating, fishing, hunting and general out-door safety. We place strong importance on teaching youth to have a "plan" and tell people exactly where you are going and what you are doing. It also encompasses education programs for kids on how to deal with strangers. Classes are offered primarily in the Fall time of year and are given at a number of retail store locations and State facilities.
The YCA places a major emphasis on teaching children about the environment through fishing and hunting activities. We do this not only to ensure the future of these family oriented sports, but also to provide kids with a tremendous opportunity for environmental education outside of the classroom. Children at YCA events are challenged with ecosystem study and water quality testing. The kids also learn how to read lake maps and are taught about boating safety and fishing regulations. We continue to use high-power biology microscopes as we deploy sophisticated tools to examine the environment while "keeping it simple" through the sports of fishing and hunting. On the educational front, this represents a "practical application" which keeps the kids highly interested in what we're trying to teach them.
School teachers, Principals and College Professors regularly join us to help teach the kids about environmental sciences. The YCA makes it a point to come to area schools and show kids of all ages what we do at our outdoor events. All of our outdoor programs are thoroughly documented by professional photographers and videographes. This gives us the ability to bring our programs into the schools especially during the winter months. This provides children with a wide range of outdoor exposure and gives them an in-depth look at the wildlife around them in a school setting. Our shows are multi-media presentations and include music, videos and laser light shows.
The YCA continues to welcome children with Down Syndrome and Autism to our programs. We have found over many years that children with these disabilities respond extremely well to our outdoor programs and especially to fishing. We work closely with schools centered on Autism and also work with other not-for-profit organizations whose focus is centered on a variety of disabilities.
One of the YCA’s core curriculum's is the Bird of Prey program. These programs are portable; meaning, we have the ability to bring live birds into schools, parks, and other places where an assembly can be organized. We emphasize and teach how birds fit into the overall ecosystem and how we can help sustain and protect their habitats. This gives kids a safe, close-up view of these spectacular animals. The YCA has trained and federally certified Bird of Prey rehabilitators on staff to facilitate these programs.
Camping is one of the YCA's most family oriented events are requires everyone to chip in! Usually these events run 2-3 days. Camping events are held at State facilities and have many outdoor components to them including fishing, hunter education and even Firearms safety for the adults. Camping events usually have activities for children of all ages and include crafts and art projects. Camping is not for everyone but for those who are willing to put forth the effort, it can be very gratifying. The YCA always does these events where shelter is near-by in case of inclement weather.
The YCA's Youth fishing programs are among our most popular. We try to hold 2 major events annually. Events are generally held in areas where lakes and facilities are large enough to accommodate large groups and boats. Our primary event is held in Hayward Wisconsin and is supported by National fishing organizations like Muskies Inc. Although our programs are geared towards the fresh water “muskellunge” species of fish, we encourage multi-species fishing too including Walleye, Bass and Northern Pike. Although YCA programs are tailored for kids, we strongly encourage family participation and welcome people of all ages. It is quite common to have not only parents, but Grandparents and Aunts & Uncles participate.