- Chris Campanelli
Thank an Outdoor Mentor this Father's Day
Let us begin by wishing all of the amazing dads out there a very Happy Father's Day!
If you love the outdoors, there's a great chance that your father or a father-like figure in your life guided your path. This weekend should be all about showing gratitude to those fathers and father-like figures who have shown us the way, because it's that passing down of the outdoor heritage that may be more important than anything.
In a day and age where more kids and young people are glued to technology than to a treestand, fishing pole, or firearm, we want to say thanks to those dads out there who continue to encourage their children to enjoy the outdoors. Without your efforts to create future outdoorsmen and women, our outdoor passions could be in jeopardy.
Now, we are not saying that fathers are the only ones who can pass on the outdoor heritage. Mothers, sisters, brothers, neighbors, and friends have been passing it on for hundreds of years. We have to acknowledge those folks as well, and we're definitely not saying that it's only a father's place to pass on the outdoor heritage.
At the same time, an overwhelming majority of outdoorsmen and women were guided to this lifestyle via their father. Few things foster father-and-child time like the outdoor sports. Whether you tagged along with dad during deer season, rode along in the boat, or watched and learned gun safety on the range, there's a great chance that dad lit that spark in you or the person that turned you on to the outdoors.
Somewhere along that line, a father passed on the outdoor heritage to his son or daughter. I don't know about you, but I see that as pretty profound.
I cannot stress the importance of passing it on enough. Remember, you don't have to be a father to pass it on. Absolutely any of us can become an outdoor mentor for someone, and you never know how much you could change someone's life by introducing them to the outdoors.
Hunting, fishing, and firearms have always been a tradition in my family. My grandfather was an outdoorsman and passed the tradition on to my father, who instilled a love for the outdoors in myself at a pretty young age. The outdoors are definitely in the family, but I grew up as a fringe outdoorsman.
As I constantly pursued my dreams in baseball and football as a kid, my father and I didn't really hunt or fish. Until I turned 15 and got serious about the outdoors, the most we would do is plink with pellet guns and go fishing a couple of times a year. All of our time and money was going toward baseball and football.
While my father and grandfather definitely put something of an outdoor bug in me, I have to credit my serious outdoor addiction to my cousin, Jake. Without my cousin and his father being avid outdoorsmen who religiously hunted every deer season in the fall and turkey season in the spring, I can confidently say that I wouldn't be doing what I am today.
Thanks to my cousin getting me serious about the outdoors in my teenage years, I was able to spark that outdoor passion in my father again. My dad and I are now inseparable hunting partners, and I wouldn't trade that for the world. We hunt together every weekend in the fall, manage the farm together relentlessly, and strategize about the outdoors daily.
You see, it's that outdoor mentorship and the chain of passing it down that is the real point of this story. Without a respect and love for the outdoors passed down from my grandfather to my father and from my cousin's family to him, I am not sure if I would have really found my true passion in life.
Father's Day just holds a little bit more water for those of us who love the outdoors- speaking from my point of view at least. I truly see fathers as the facilitators of the outdoor lifestyle, as I mentioned previously. There's just no relationship more prevalent in passing down the outdoor heritage.
So make sure that you go ahead and thank your father, if you are lucky enough to be able to do so in person, for passing down that outdoor heritage.
Even if your dad was not the one who passed on the outdoor heritage to you, rest assured that your outdoor mentor was inspired by a father or father figure at some point.
If nothing else, please consider the importance of passing on our outdoor traditions on this Father's Day weekend. There may be nothing more important than recruiting future generations of outdoorsmen and women, and you don't have to be a father to pass on the tradition.
Show a kid how to shoot a bow, bring your buddy along for a deer hunt, or take the girlfriend out for a night of fishing. It can literally be anything and anyone.
Dads just happen to do it better than anyone else, and for that we thank them!