Our local public library had just set the theme for 2012 Summer Reading Program and it was going to have an outdoor related basis - Camp Read Alot! A summer reading program designed not only to encourage reading, but also a love of nature, physical activity, and our great outdoor heritages. Children will not only learn about the outdoors , but how reading, books, and the local library can enhance any life experience, indoors or out.
Like many tiny rural libraries across America today our community's struggles financially. There have been days when we lived in fear of having to shut the doors. The electronic age has some how made little rural public libraries passe, and in Illinois where I live funding has become almost non existent
There is little, if any, money left over during the budgeting process for new books, for items for programs, for ways to help engage and involve our young patrons. We have been blessed at our library with two librarians; Jennifer Grafton, Director and Tammy Rieckenberg, who seemingly perform the miracle of the loaves and fishes on a daily basis, Through sheer grit, determination, outstanding fund raising skills and most importantly a love of bringing reading to young people they somehow manage to provide multiple programs and services throughout the year on an annual budget of 11,500.00
For the librarians - we are thankful.
For organizations such as Tomorrows Hunter - we are thankful.
Tomorrow's Hunter had me from the opening message on their website
If we spend all of our time and money preserving wildlife and habitat but neglect to recruit and retain a future generation of outdoorsmen.......we have failed."
The mission of Tomorrow's Hunter is very simple: Introduce children to the experience of hunting, fishing and an outdoor education, providing them with a positive learning experience that will last a lifetime.As technology and urbanization continue to reduce the number of our youth taking part in these activities in the wild, our society has allowed them to forget who they are and where they came from. Tomorrow Hunter provides children with a positive learning experience that encompasses conservation, wildlife knowledge and management, firearms safety and responsibility, outdoor education, respect for nature and for each other.
Tomorrow's Hunter believes that every child should have the opportunity to experience nature as a hunter
or fisherman and to live off of the land just as we have for thousands of years. Tomorrow's Hunter, welcomes all children, regardless of race, income level, gender or physical ability. The number of youth in the field is rapidly declining, but they intend to make it grow.
My heart sang when I saw the section of their website title "Children's Book Program" - BOOKS!
Perhaps there was a way our library and in turn the summer reading program could benefit from this. I hoped, I wished, wondered.
Tomorrow's Hunter had teamed up with Rob Jacobs, author of the "Little Sportsman" book series, in an effort to reach younger children. Tomorrows Hunter purchases and donate these pro-hunting/fishing children's books to libraries across the country.
Beautiful books, richly illustrated and captivatingly written to educate and inspire new hunters, anglers, and shooters. A book blessing if you will, for many small libraries, boys and girls centers, and other areas where children need books and need exposure to the outdoor world.
Within just a several days of my first contacting Mr. Gino Attardi at Tomorrow's Hunter, I received an excited phone call from the library, " There's this box of books here! A whole set! They are from the Tomorrow's Hunter people - and they are the coooolest books ever! You have come see! "
The thankfulness and excitement was evident on the librarian's voice as she realized that once again, friends, families, even total strangers, had stepped forward to help keep the legacy of a small rural library alive.
The Coulterville Public Library thanks Tomorrow's Hunter
The Children of Coulterville thank Tomorrow's Hunter
The future of our outdoor heritage thanks Tomorrow's Hunter!