These Times

Kicking Bear Camp Talk
These Times
By Tom LaLond
While we’ve been in this pandemic state I’ve heard people say, “these are interesting times.” Or, “ these are scary times we’re in.” And those can be truthful through some perspectives, but I’ve found that reminiscing on joyful and exciting times or memories provide the proper antidote to times like these. As we come into this spring season, Kicking Bear has been hosting youth hunts for 20 consecutive years, and Lord willing, we will be hosting them until He comes again.  As spring Wild Turkey hunting is right around the corner we wanted to look back on last years youth turkey hunts. The 2019 season was Kicking Bear’s inaugural MN Turkey Hunting Camp in Nodine, MN, and it was an absolute blast! We also had our annual WI Turkey Hunting Camp in Whitehall area, and this camp had even the adults in awe of God’s massive, brilliant creation. Over the years we’ve gathered hundreds of thousands of stories like the ones below, and there have been hundreds of volunteers to help set up the blinds, cabins and properties. Folks like General Darren, Sarge, and Juice leading the charge and bringing everyone together.
Kicking Bear’s Minnesota Turkey Camp was filled with incredible anticipation because we had several new hunters and mentors. Most people showed up Friday night and the wildly fun times started right away with games like ghost in the graveyard. Which was played in knee high grass, and it had everyone tripping over each other! The night air around the cabin was filled with roars of laughter and the smell of a campfire. For Brad Koehler, Kicking Bear staff, this was his first hunt of any kind and he was blown away by the generosity of the landowners to allow kids and mentors to hunt on their property. Another thing that stuck out to him was how the on and off rain all weekend didn’t seem to lessen the excitement of the mentees or the passion of the hunters to want to brave the weather and get these kids a bird. From the whole experience Brad took this away, “you learn a ton from these kids, and these hunts have a way of totally changing your perspective on things.”
I can attest to this because my whole outlook has changed since being a guide and mentor on these hunts. Now when I got out into the woods it doesn’t satisfy me as much as when a mentee and I go run and gun on some long-beards on the next ridge. At this time we are all eagerly waiting for the Stay at Home order to be lifted so we can get out and chase some critters together with our mentees!
Jumping across the River we had some times that were just as wild, and one dad’s experience gave many of us a perspective change that’s helpful in these current times. Deetra had never been hunting and wanted his boys to experience things in life that he never got the chance to. Then once he learned about Kicking Bear hunts he knew he had to sign them up. He also wanted to tag along on hunt, so he joined the crew for the whole new experience. The guide and landowner Rick Teska said that when Deetra walked into the cabin he was amazed at all the beautiful deer mounts on the walls. “The whole cabin and hunting camp setting had him amazed,” Rick said. As Rick, Deetra, and DJ (the hunter) were walking out to the blind Rick looked back to make sure there were two people following him, but he saw that it was only DJ who walked close behind him. Staying calm, to not concern DJ, the two of them started walking back to find Deetra, and it didn’t take long. He was standing in the middle of a wide-open field, looking up, and completely stunned at the billions of stars in the clear, dark, morning sky. The portrait before him utterly stopped Deetra in his tracks, and the indescribable beauty God painted right in front of him left him paralyzed and awestruck.
As hunters and outdoorsmen we are blessed with experiencing these portraits regularly, but that being said who appreciated it more in that moment? Rick or Deatra? Neither was in the wrong, just like the memory Luke shares with us of the two sisters, Mary and Martha. While Martha was feverously working to prepare the food for their guests Mary was stopped from doing anything by the awe of Jesus and His words. Martha asked Jesus to have her sister help prepare, but Jesus said He couldn’t do that. Jesus says in Luke 10:38-42, “you (Martha) are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.” In these current times our perspective of the future can easily be stained dark, gloomy, and hopeless. We cannot let our vision be stained by this darkness because we all know how hard every type of stain is to get out of our clothes. BUT if we, like Mary, focus on one thing (Jesus), rather than worrying about the many, we will only be able to see the hope, joy, and peace we have in Jesus Christ as our Savior.

Kicking Bear is now going into its 20th year–there are several new camps starting up in 2019 across the nation, and only God knows the heights to which He will take them.

Kicking Bear Ministry has been taking youth off the streets and changing their lives. God has allowed us to keep His camps and outings completely free-of-charge to all participants due to the great partners He has brought to the ministry. Of the 122 events and 76,000 people throughout the nation who were touched by Kicking Bear last year, below is yet another life-changing story.

We are able to continue to host free events to the public and change the lives of the ones who need us most because of the continued financial support of people like you. Please consider either a one-time, tax deductible, year-end gift or a monthly recurring donation by clicking the “Support Us” button.

1 Comment. Leave new

  • Nathan Dietrich
    September 14, 2020 3:40 pm

    In memory of my 38 year old brother Daron who recently was called to his eternal home, I have asked at his memorial for contributions to be made to KickingBear ministries in his name. He was an avid outdoorsman who loved to hunt and fish and was always rubbing off his passion for the sports on the youth of today. From experiencing a kicking bear camp personally twice, I know that he would definitely support this!


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