This weeks column is about never giving up, hard work and good people.
Late August, 2018
I parked my truck and a car trailer full of building materials under an overhang at Zion United Methodist Church in Marshfield just before 6 p.m. with a plan of meeting some people and starting the process of building a Kids and Mentors Outdoors (KAMO) chapter in Marshfield.
One of my passions in life is to find a way to introduce as many kids to the outdoors as possible, and that is what we do in KAMO.
Five minutes before I parked my truck and trailer, an incredible storm hit, and in a way, that storm would signify the ups and downs of the eight-month project in front of me.
Some inside info on this is that some good people tried starting a chapter at the Meade Wildlife Center, but it was just too far from a population, and it fizzled out. When I found out in May that the ship was sinking, I made it clear that I was not giving up, and that I felt we needed to meet in a town or a city where more people would attend meetings.
For the next few months I casually sent out emails to people in the Marshfield area and a true blessing came in the way of April Onsager. April is a strong Christian mother of three children, and a person who under no circumstances was she going to give up on a KAMO chapter in her area.
April was at that first meeting, as was Dana Anderson, who is a horticulturist for Weed Warrior LLC, and she had brought her close friend Brad Allen along, as I had asked everyone to bring a friend or a family member.
Brad is a project manager for Keller Inc., which is a commercial builder, and also was the president of The Northwood Historical Society. An ace for KAMO was that our vice president Bob Nicksic, of New Lisbon, was at that meeting and also wanted to make this work.
About all you can do at something like this is talk about KAMO and your hopes and dreams.
Fast forward to our September meeting, and I may be mistaken, but there was only three or four of us there, but our attitude was positive and we made plans for October.
Bob ran the October meeting and had a turnout of maybe seven people, including his cousin, Mike Nicksic, who is a principal at Marshfield Middle School, and just a great guy. I was on a hunting trip and talked to Bob directly after the meeting. Bob was positive, but he was also clear that he wanted this group to start growing some wings.
We met at the Northwood Historical Society all fall, and at the December meeting there was maybe seven of us, and my main thought was that these guys needed to get outside with some kids and do something.
At this point there were maybe seven folks involved, but they were becoming a core group. It was at that meeting that Mike stepped up to the plate and said he would host a get-together on his forested property.
Sunday, Jan. 6
High 27, low 11
On this day, a KAMO Chapter was truly born. One by one, members and parents with kids arrived at Mike’s, and for a bonus, I had Ruby, Fire and Ruby’s 3-week old litter of pups. Bill Dickerson, who is a solid member of the Meadow Valley Chapter, had brought his five air rifles and taught the kids a lot. There was a campfire, food, some education and a hike.
April made a video of the event before the day was over and we made our next plan, which was a kids fisheree. These guys and gals were now a proud group and gave themselves the name of The Yellow River Chapter of KAMO, formally MarshPoint. Check them out on Facebook.
On Saturday, March 2, we had a fisheree on Lake Dexter just for kids, and at first our world fell apart, or should I say it sunk, as the ice on our lake had sunk due to heavy snow and was all slush.
The Yellow River Chapter of KAMO was not going to be stopped. We used shovels and made piles of snow about 6-feet wide for about 150 yards. The kids could walk on the snow and we drilled holes to fish out of on the side.
There was snow shoeing, playing on snow piles, wrestling with my crazy dogs, and one boy that loves taking pictures. With great pride I realized that this chapter now has a core group of 11, and by that I mean in-it-to-win-it people, and several other folks that will help on occasion.
Our website is www.kamokids.org. We have chapters in several parts of the state, no one is paid, everything is free for kids and I urge you in whatever way you can, to be a part of KAMO.
Long live Yellow River!