About two years ago, my buddy Mike and I were wrecking our brains on a youth program that would bring special needs people into the outdoors with their families. Mike recalled seeing a sign for KAMO (Kids Adult Mentor Outdoors) on a truck by one of his regular haunts, so we decided to look into that program. At the time, I was starting up a progam called CAARP (Coulee Area Autism Recreation Program) so I was neck deep in paperwork.
Shortly after our meeting, Mike provided literature and noted community support for t KAMO and was very passionate about starting up a chapter here in the Coulee Region. I said “the world needs another non profit group like I need a stick in the eye” so instead of re-inventing the wheel, I decided to join forces with Mike and get KAMO off the ground. We had a general public meeting and met with the founder of KAMO and formed our chapter.
Now one year later, with the good graces of the community we are pleased to announce a very successful year:
Dear KAMO Parent
Coulee KAMO’s 2012 goal was to get the KAMO name out there. We went well beyond that, spending over 1,000 hours outdoors with kids as well. This is all because some mentors in the area have a passion for both working with kids and the outdoors AND several parents put their trust in KAMO mentors.
In 2012 KAMOKIDS went:
- Fishing on Lake Onalaska
- photography shoots at the bass tournament and at the La Farge hunt (one kamo kid took third place in a photo contest for her picture)
- On outings with DNR staff on the river
- Pheasant hunting on a game farm near Taylor
- To the spring fishing outing at the Genoa Fish Hatchery
- Duck hunting locally
- On several hikes – Hixon Forest, Goose Island, Eco Park Trails, MVC blufflands
- Canoeing on the Black River
- On a camping/ deer hunting trip on Tunnelville Cliffs near La Farge. One kid shot a buck.
- On a river clean up outing near Onalaska all done from the shoreline
- Trapshooting at Gunslick
- On a deer hunting trip near Poynette – one girl shot her first deer.
- On a Geo-caching outing near Holmen
- On a number of one on one outings not mentioned above
what we have planned for 2013:
- The upcoming 4H archery program running from January-March. There is still some room in this program if you know of anyone.
- The Genoa Fish Hatchery has their kids ice fishing outing tentatively set for January 26th – this is geared for younger children.
- KAMO will have its own all ages ice fishing event on Lake Onalaska probably on February 3rd.
- several more 1:1 and group community outings as they become available
KAMO can use: More mentors. Donated items to use for a raffle – preferably things of interest to the general public.
What makes our chapter so unique is the blend of special needs kids/ families with typical kids and families and how well everyone gets along. It truly shows how the outdoors brings everyone together.
note: KAMO is a youth mentoring program located throughout Wisconsin. They have five chapters located in Baraboo, La Crosse, New Lisbon, Florence, and Ladysmith. To learn more about KAMO, visit their website