By Lisa Stukel, Contributing Writer
Northborough- On Wednesday, Aug. 5, outdoor enthusiasts will arrive at the Chesterfield Scout Reservation, near Scout Pond in Chesterfield, looking forward to two weeks of nonstop excitement.
Headquartered in Northborough, the Massachusetts Junior Conservation Camp (MJCC) provides a unique outdoor experience offering a balanced program of conservation education and instruction in outdoor recreation activities, including fishing, boating, shooting, archery and outdoor survival techniques.
The MJCC camp program is for boys and girls aged 13 to 17. Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Campers may be sponsored by an organization or apply on their own.
The camp was founded in 1949 as a co-op project between the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Game and a citizen group. Since 1983, it has been administered by the Massachusetts Sportsmans Junior Conservation Camp, Inc., a nonprofit, tax-exempt corporation solely responsible for the conduct and operation of the camp.
Resident counselors are on hand at all times, to supervise and lead campers through their two-week adventure. They know how to make the time spent at the camp educational and fun. Michael D. Yacino is the MJCC president.
“We employ a staff of 25 counselors, all of which are certified in their respective fields,” Yacino said.? “Our counselors are the best of the best, to guide and instruct campers through a wide variety of hands-on activities.”
“The happiest campers are those who are interested in the outdoors,” he continued. “Students will participate in instruction that includes firearms of several types, bows, arrows, along with fishing and camping equipment and wildlife interaction.”
Conservation subjects taught include fish and pond life, forest conservation, and wildlife management. Outdoor skills, including basic camping, fly and spin casting, orienteering, riflery, and shotgun courses, are led by experts in their field. The MJCC curriculum also includes the Massachusetts Hunter Education Program and Small Boat Safety.
In addition to days filled with nonstop, hands-on activity, campers are treated to meals provided by a gourmet chef (the chef who currently provides meals for students at Framingham State University). The walls in the mess hall are adorned with awards from previous campers who have excelled in their respective activities.
“During mealtimes, campers pass by these awards and are motivated to excel,” Yacino said. “We hand out awards to campers who display leadership and excellence, and they really enjoy being recognized.”
The majority of the campers enjoy the camp program and would recommend it to their friends. Campers build friendships that are strong and long lasting.
“My sons attended the camp 40 years ago, and are still in contact with the people they met here at the camp,” Yacino said.
This year's camp dates are Aug. 5 to 17. For more information, visit www.juniorconservationcamp.org.