By: Ariel & Adoriam DeWalt
Growing up, my sister and I always questioned what we would do with our lives after we graduated from High School. We didn’t have an interest in anything except making money, and we also did not have any experience or connections for any fields of study we were looking at, since all the women in our life studied in the medical field to become a nurse, dentist assistant, etc. If someone asked I or my sister what we wanted to be when we grew up, we would say “I want to be a doctor.” It wasn’t my cup of tea to see blood or insides, so we had to search for our passion. Since I was young, our parents encouraged us to participate in STEM, tech, and sports. Even though we were successful in all of them, we never explored the activity on a personal level. During the summer of 2019, our parents signed me and my sister up for the Glenn Miller Ag Conservation Camp, which we didn’t want to attend because watching TV and relaxing all day was comfortable, but our parents had different plans.
The following month we were sent to camp and the instructors taught students about fish anatomy, water habitat, fishing, and conservation principles and more. The amount of opportunities I saw fascinated both of us, and it was the first activity that caught our attention. In the end, we felt like we were experts with our knowledge and skills. Attending camp made us realize that caring for the environment, protecting our earth, and educating others on how to have the same experience as we did was our passion and drive to do more. During the past four years, we have served as junior camp counselors at Glenn Miller Ag Conservation Camp. We both realized that just attending a camp wasn’t enough; we wanted to be more involved. Attending this camp was the foundation for my journey with Texas Brigades.
Texas Brigades is a nonprofit just like Glenn Miller, with the mission to educate and empower adolescents with leadership skills and knowledge in wildlife, fisheries, and land stewardship to become conservation ambassadors for a sustained natural resource legacy.
Texas Brigades host eight camps across Texas and teach about wildlife and natural resources. During the five-day camp, we have been taught various principles of wildlife habitat and land management to leadership and public speaking.
For the past two years, we’ve attended different camps and participated as an assistant leader at North Buckskin, Costal, and Bobwhite Brigades. To become an assistant leader, we were required to complete a BOA (Book of Accomplishments), which includes a series of events cadets have completed after the camp to return the following year and have a chance to receive an Assistant Leader position and college scholarships. Some of the events we either hosted, created, or attended would be the Texas Brigade anniversary events, beach cleanup days, or hosting our own workshop where we presented to the community at the Glenn Miller Conservation camp of 2022. Whatever the activity may be, you can always get something good like connections with ranch owners and professionals in agriculture who could be potential job opportunities in the future.
We absolutely loved attending the camp and have found our passion for conservation for marine and land wildlife. My sister has decided to pursue environmental science next year when she starts college, and I am interested in the field of Environmental Studies and Land Management. I would love to share my experience and tell others how the Glenn Miller Camp and Texas Brigades are a wonderful opportunity to take the next step into your career. Since then, we’ve met wonderful people passionate about wildlife conservation and developed excellent connections with people who can advance us in our interests. Nevertheless, we still want to learn more about the conservation world that awaits us.