Outdoor columnist Mark Walters travels Wisconsin extensively, seeking adventures to fuel his passion for nature and for stories to share with the readers of his outdoor column, which appear every week in dozens of Wisconsin newspapers. Mark’s “Outdoorsman’s Journal” can be found under the “Links” section of this website. Mark began his career as an outdoor writer in 1989 and in the the mid – 2000’s, begin to notice that fewer people, especially children, were in nature enjoying outdoor pursuits. By that time, states throughout the nation were voicing alarm about declining numbers of hunters and fishermen and the subsequent reduction in revenue from license sales.
Mark voiced his concern about this disturbing disconnection with nature in his column and challenged his readers to help him form an organization dedicated to introducing children to outdoor pursuits. Readers in three areas of Wisconsin responded to Mark’s challenge and met with him to discuss the logistics of forming an youth outdoor mentoring organization. This culminated in the original Kids and Mentors Outdoors (KAMO) group. KAMO’s charter chapters began operating near Baraboo, Florence, and Ladysmith in 2007. The Meadow Valley Chapter joined in 2008, followed by Coulee in 2012, and Lake Wisconsin in 2015.
KAMO’s stated mission is to give children access to a variety of experiences that should help them develop an appreciation for nature, a stewardship ethic and a knowledge of outdoor traditions to carry forward. Soon enough, these children, known as KAMOKIDS, would mature into adults with the life – long potential to enjoy practicing their outdoor skills, pass their skills on to others, and become stewards of our natural resources. The combined activities of these new outdoor enthusiasts has already begun to have a boosting effect on the outdoor industry economically.
KAMO’s recruits and screens adult mentors from a pool of volunteers who have an outdoor passion, a desire to their share their knowledge and skills, and a commitment to today’s children. These mentors plan, organize, and finance outdoor themed adventures including nature walks, wildlife viewing, canoeing, fishing, archery, camping, hunting, orienteering, trapping, bow fishing, skiing, snowshoeing, and biking. These activities are FREE to the KAMOKIDS, who are usually between the ages of 9 and 16 and often come from family backgrounds in which there is little or no opportunity for an outdoor connection.
Parent, siblings, and friends of KAMOKIDS are encouraged to participate in KAMO’s activities with parent often delivering participants to these events. The idea is for those participants to remain with the group over a period of several years so that their appreciation for nature can be more fully developed.The number and content of activities varies for each chapter. Facebook or Lake-link.com are great places to look to find out what the chapters do. On this site, look under “Wisconsin Chapters’”.
KAMO currently has aggressive plans for expansion – attracting new people to existing chapters and formation of new chapters throughout the state. Facebook and this site’s “Wisconsin Chapters” pages are great places to look to find out what is going on in KAMO in your area.