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INTRODUCING FAMILIES AND YOUTH TO THE OUTDOORS

INTRODUCING FAMILIES AND YOUTH TO THE OUTDOORS - I'm in Iowa this morning listening to a local television report about the drugs families use for attention deficit disorders, etc. and how most have many unintended consequences. No kidding! I'm certainly glad that my dad, a physician of 30 years in Denver, and mom figured out that us 10 kids (most with attention issues, I'm sure) did not need any drugs -- we simply needed to be OUTDOORS -- hunting, fishing, rock hounding, hiking, wildlife watching, etc. When we were not outdoors, my dad would often take us down to the Museum of Natural History, to a rock show or to watch a movie on wildlife (e.g Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom...)

Back to this morning. My dad passed at 12:45 am -- and I was there with him -- a very peaceful moment for me...after my wife and I made the trek yesterday from TX. I feel very blessed to have made it up to be with him and was praying and actually looking at a photo of him as he passed -- one of him and my family on his farm after a morning of fishing -- outdoor moments I certainly do not take for granted anymore. It was a peaceful passing and I was smiling, treasuring a father who certainly accomplished a lot and who had a full life. How lucky for us! I was looking over his accomplishments minutes before opining here -- He performed over 15,000 major surgeries and delivered over 6,000 babies; he was a three sports star in high school and college and a MASH doctor in the Korean War. But his greatest accomplishment by far, along with our mom, was having and raising 10 kids with the outdoors as a way of life.

I think of all of you in Texas Children in Nature and Texas Parks and Wildlife and what you do for hundreds and even thousands of youth and adults -- introducing them to hunting, the shooting sports and the outdoors -- you are inspiring, each of you are to so many. The outdoors is your prescription for many families! You help people every day figure out that it is our hunting and outdoor heritage that keeps our attention and perhaps, off of fabricated drugs.

I will be back in TX soon to continue our passion to introducing Texans to the great outdoors!

Steve Hall is the Hunter Education Coordinator at Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. His program give youth and adults the opportunities to learn about harvesting wildlife in a way that is safe, ethical and meaningful. Hunting is one of the many ways youth can not only connect with the outdoors, but also learn important lessons such as self-reliance and food webs.