This week, instead of my dad, I am writing his weekly outdoors column. As many of you may know, I graduated from Necedah High School on May 25. I have lived in Necedah all of my life, and accomplished many things throughout my time there, but this is my biggest accomplishment yet.
Because I have three older brothers, I have watched them all graduate one by one, and never felt as if it would be my time, but now that it has come and passed, it honestly just feels kind of weird and surreal.
Since I am heading off to college next year, I applied for as many scholarships as I could. One of the questions that many scholarship applications asked was “What has influenced you to make the career choice that you have?” And for this I always had the same answer. My Dad, and his career have had a major impact on who I am and the person that I wish to become. I am so incredibly happy for the opportunities that I have had because of the outdoors and my family.
Lately I have been doing a lot of reflecting on the past as I move into the future. As I reflect, the main things that I think about are what I am grateful for. I obviously am very grateful for the outdoors and all of the experiences that it has provided me, but also the people who I have met because of it.
As I’ve grown up I’ve always been the baby and oftentimes the only girl. So watching everyone around me mature has forced me to mature much faster than a lot of people my age, and being around men has made me insensitive to some of the things that maybe a lady should be sensitive to. It has affected my sense of humor, lifestyle and even the way that I talk at times.
There are many of my dad’s friends who I would not have had the opportunity to meet if not for this involvement. To my uncles, cousins and family friends who I see every year at deer camp, Canada and duck camp, to the people who I may have only met once or twice because we have stayed with you, or you have let me hunt on your land, I would like to thank you for all you have done for me.
I also have had many opportunities and experiences that many girls my age have not had because of my dad. When I was only 3 months old, I went on my first camping trip, and I have loved it ever since. Not only have I enjoyed camping, but I also really love hunting, fishing, exploring and learning about the outdoors.
My favorite thing that I have done so far is shooting my bear. I know what it feels like to experience the rush when you are hunting and finally see what you are out for, but when I saw my bear. it was totally different. It was like that times 10. I was shaking and I couldn’t stop myself. A lot of people ask me if I was scared at the time, but I was just so caught up in the moment that being afraid of the bear mauling me was not even a thought. There is nothing that has ever made me feel that way before, and I will never forget it.
I have been very active with in my school, and involved in almost every club that Necedah had to offer. On top of academics and extra-curriculars, I also ran cross country, worked part time and tried to balance a social life on top of everything. I do not regret any of this, and also learned a lot about myself through all of that, and had a lot of fun doing it.
You may have noticed that unfortunately over the last couple years, I have been appearing in my dad’s column less and less, and this only because I have been so busy with everything else. In no way am I less involved or interested in the outdoors, I just have a lot more on my plate. This will soon become even more difficult as I head off to college in September, and try to create a new life for myself and become my own person.
I want it to be very clear though that as I continue to grow, I want to learn more and more about the outdoors and create this into a career for myself. In the last couple of years I have become very interested in pollution, especially ocean acidification, as this is a major issue that many people don’t know about.
I am very excited to head off to UW-Stevens Point, but will never forget where I came from and who has helped me to get here. Thank you to everyone who has helped me, and followed along with my life over the past 18 years. Hopefully you will be able to continue to for a long time!