Fifth District Federation of Kentucky Sportsmen

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Camp Webb Scholarship Program Review

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5th District Federation of Sportsmen

In July of 2006, I volunteered to head a committee to review and revise the Conservation Camp Scholarship Program sponsored by the 5th District. As a relatively new member of the 5th District at the time, I was not familiar with the history of this program, but certainly recognized that any program that helped expose our youth more to the outdoors, and our heritage with hunting, fishing, and wildlife management was worthwhile. It appeared that our scholarship program was not operating efficiently, and the 5th was largely uncertain of the program's status and expenditures. Our bylaws stated the objective of awarding 2 scholarships to students from each of the district's thirteen counties, with the profits from the annual Sportsman's Fair providing the necessary funding. Unfortunately, we did not have good records on the number of awards made in recent years, nor the method by which scholarships had been awarded.

My initial effort was to contact the KDFWR CEPLs in our district, since they had been making the scholarship awards on behalf of the 5th District in recent years. I found there was no formal process for making awards, simply based on those students who contacted the CEPLs about possible scholarships. I found only 14 scholarships had been awarded in 2005, and 22 scholarships in 2006. Not all counties had been awarded as intended by the 5th District. The 5th District's only involvement was paying the invoice for the scholarships submitted by KDFWR following camp. Additionally, the camp fee had increased from $100 to $215 in 2006. As a result, camp attendance had dropped nearly 50%. The conclusions of these findings were:
1. The 5th District Federation needed to play an active role in awarding these scholarships.
2. In light of the increased cost of camp, we needed to revise our objectives and funding strategy.
3. We needed to develop clear procedures for how scholarships would be awarded.

To address these issues, a committee of volunteers was formed, recommendations developed, and reviewed and approved by the members of the 5th District. Key changes included:
1. Increase the scholarship award to $175.
2. Award as many scholarships as our available scholarship funds would support.
3. In addition to profits from the Sportsman's Fair, seek donations from member clubs, individuals, and other interested organizations to support scholarships.
4. Implement an essay contest as the basis for selecting scholarship winners.
5. Balance awards across the thirteen counties within the district.
6. Utilize the CEPL's to communicate the scholarship programs across the schools in the 5th District.

In 2007, we implemented these changes, received 38 essays, and awarded 38 scholarships across eight of the thirteen counties. In 2008, we received over 150 essays, and awarded 32 scholarships across eleven of the thirteen counties. In 2009, we awarded 52 scholarships, the highest number ever awarded by the 5th District, thanks to the increase in donations from member clubs, individuals, and a $5000 grant from the Sierra Club. Essays for 2009 totaled 120 across only five counties.

Overall, we have made great progress in restoring the effectiveness and efficiency of our scholarship program. Increasing the participation from schools across all of our thirteen counties remains an opportunity that we plan to address in 2010. It's also important that we revisit the objectives of the annual Sportsman's Fair to raise funds as the base support of our scholarship program. Thanks to all committee members that have worked to implement these changes, and to the 5th District clubs and members for their support. Keeping our youth involved is critical to passing on our heritage of hunting, fishing, and shooting sports.

Gary Turney
Chairman - Camp Webb Scholarship Committee
5th District Federation of Sportsmen


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