Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation gearing up for Spike Camp
April 5 — Growing up in Lassen County provides youth with endless opportunities to be active outdoors and participate in a variety of outdoor sports such as hunting, archery, fishing, hiking and paintball (just to name a few). Each year the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation partners with other local organizations and businesses to put on Spike Camp so the youth of Lassen County can learn about the outdoors and how to enjoy outdoor activities safely.
This year is no different, as the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is gearing up for this year’s Spike Camp. The event will be held Saturday, April 13 at the National Guard Armory at the Lassen County Fairgrounds and will feature a wide range of classes and activities for children to enjoy, including archery, BB gun shooting, laser shooting, hunter safety and first aid training.
Spike Camp is geared toward children between the ages of 4 and 17. However, adults may attend as well.
This year’s Spike Camp will also feature a raffle of multiple outdoor items, including BB guns and bows.
The doors open at 9 a.m., but attendees are welcome to come throughout the day. There are minimal entry fees for children and adults, which go toward providing raffle prizes.
Curtis Cox and the staff of the Frosty Mill will provide lunch for children around 12:30 p.m. Adults are also welcome to attend and can enjoy donuts, hot chocolate and coffee.
Spike Camp began more than 10 years ago when the local Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation decided they wanted to do something for local youth. Since then, the foundation has put on Spike Camp every year in Lassen County and has inspired other chapters to put on similar camps and events. In fact, at one point Spike Camp in Lassen County was the largest event of its type in the country.
“We want to do this for the kids in the community,” said Gordon Ponting, of the local Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Ponting explained Lassen County has so many outdoor activities and sports available to children that the foundation wants to give youth the knowledge, skills and resources to enjoy the outdoors and to do it safely.
“These kids are in an area where they ought to be fishing and hunting and doing photography, hiking, all of that,” he said.
Spike Camp was named after the spike a young bull elk typically grows when he is young. The bull will grow single spikes in the first year, then shed those and begin developing side branches on his antlers the following year. The spike on a young elk or deer is a symbol of youth, making it the perfect name for a camp centered on youth.
Ponting also mentioned that archery and paintball clubs might be forming in Lassen County soon and Spike Camp is a way for kids to get in contact with the people forming these types of clubs and hosting other outdoor events.
“The two main points are: turn off the TV. Get outside and appreciate the many things you can do outside. The second is, try to do it safely,” he added.
Another main focus of Spike Camp is safety. Events at this year’s camp will educate children on handling weapons safely and first aid. Mountain Lifeflight will be hosting an event called “environmental emergencies,” which will teach children how to handle medical and other emergencies that can happen in the outdoors. “If you break your ankle fishing up the river, have an idea of what to do,” Ponting explained.
While looking forward to the event and discussing logistics, Ponting was overwhelmed with gratitude for the support the event has received from the community and local businesses.
“The business community deserves more than a pat on the back … we really mean it,” he said when discussing the logistics of hosting the camp each year.
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, as well as the organizations they partner with, is excited and ready to enjoy another fun Spike Camp with the youth of Lassen County.
If you have not yet registered to attend Spike Camp by mail or if you have questions about the event, call Ron Hollingsworth at 310-3735 or Gordon Ponting at 262-2768.