Another action-packed day for kids is set for Aug. 28 in Alexandria during eighth Youth Outdoor Activity Day
Organizers are looking for more volunteers to help run the six-hour, all-free event that is preparing to host 2,000-2,500 kids again at the Alexandria Shooting Park on a day filled with hands-on activities in the outdoors.
ALEXANDRIA — Members of the Douglas County Pheasants Forever and Alexandria Viking Sportsmen are excited to host the eighth Youth Outdoor Activity Day, but organizers are still looking for more volunteers to help make this event as enjoyable as it can be for kids.
Youth Outdoor Activity Day is set for Aug. 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Alexandria Shooting Park this year. Those looking to attend or help out as a volunteer should register through the Youth Day website at youthoutdooractivityday.org .
The day will again feature between 40-45 outdoor activities for kids to try their hands at. It’s entirely free for those who attend, meaning it requires a lot of financial support leading up to Youth Day and many more volunteers on the day of the event.
Organizers are preparing to host between 2,000-2,500 kids, along with their family members that bring the total crowd to nearly 4,500.
It takes more than 300 volunteers to make the event run smoothly with getting food to families and helping get kids through activities in a timely manner so they are not waiting in line too long.
Many of those volunteers are ready to go for this year’s event as outdoor organizations bring in their own members to host an activity. Organizers could still use people who are willing to help out where needed as the day goes on.
“We’ve had a couple of groups that couldn’t do their activity because they didn’t have enough volunteers,” Douglas County Pheasants Forever president and Viking Sportsmen board member Dean Krebs of Alexandria said. “We need to have about 30-40 unaffiliated volunteers, which means they are not a part of an activity already. They show up and say, ‘Put me to work.’ Last year, I think we went in with 28 and we were kind of scrambling a little bit. We just need people to come out. You don’t need any special skills or anything like that. A lot of times, it’s just helping out in areas that are easily taught, or handing out shirts, helping with lunch. There’s just all kinds of little things to do.”
Krebs said that organizers will match the non-affiliated volunteers to an activity or task that they are comfortable with. The more hands on deck, the better the experience is for kids.
Youth Day is set up to introduce kids to all the outdoors has to offer and then help them stay involved in those activities. There are many gear giveaways, along with information from the hosting organizations that can help families stay involved in the outdoors.
“Each of the activities have the experts who are there who know what they’re doing,” Krebs said. “So usually they’re just looking for some help with line management or teaching a skill that’s very simple. We match people up with their skill, and if they want to do something or not do something, we can certainly accommodate that.”
The activities at Youth Day feature almost anything a kid would want to do outside. They run the gamut from ATV rides, bike trails, canoeing tips, outdoor cooking, and campfire making, along with hunting and fishing-related opportunities.
“We like to try to add some new ones to keep things fresh and learn new things,” Krebs said. “We’ve got a leave-no-trace event, which will talk about how as we enjoy nature, we’re not impacting nature. Our binoculars scavenger hunt is turning into really an optics scavenger hunt. We’re going to have a platform that kids can go up onto and use a Zeiss spotting scope to find objects that are out there a long ways — 500 yards, half a mile, something like that.”
The Youth Outdoor Activity Day started in 2014 when 542 kids took part. Excitement grew quickly as that number jumped to almost 1,400 in year two. Year seven in 2021 saw about 2,000 kids take advantage of this opportunity, and Krebs is confident that Youth Day will carry an equal amount of excitement around it as they host the event on Aug. 28.
“What we’re seeing is some kids go to it a few years, and yeah, then they’ve been to it. But then we get a new wave of kids,” Krebs said. “Now the kids that were 1-2 years old, now they’re old enough to partake in it. I see it even on our social media pages where people are tagging other people saying, ‘Hey, we should go to this. We went there last year and it was so fun. My kids loved it.’ They’re getting other people involved. So yeah, some kids age out and they are backfilled with others who are excited. They’re 4, 5 years old and it’s a brand new world for them.”