This year, we asked TU Teens who attended a TU summer camp or academy to write an essay from the prompt.
"TU Summer Camp is..."
We received lots of great submissions—they were thoughtful, funny, enthusiastic, and heartfelt. Thank you to everyone who participated.
Here are this year's winners:
Grand prize — Adam Beede
Cutthroat Chapter of TU in Colorado
Favorite stream: Roaring River in Rocky Mountain National Park; although any small, secluded stream will fit the bill perfectly.
Favorite thing about fly fishing: "What I like most about the outdoors and about fly-fishing is that it's an activity that allows me to find perfect solitude without loneliness, but also because of the people I'm able to share this great treasure with. Fly-fishing is so much more than a sport; I find that I am able to grow closer to the people I fish with than I can with any other kind of people. For me, that is what separates fly-fishing from every other sport."
Runner-up — Tressa Kinnison
Purgatoire River Anglers Chapter of TU in Colorado
Favorite stream: Arkansas River
Best thing about being outside and fishing: "I can be myself - I don't have to think. No matter who I'm with or how many fish I catch, I am always having fun. The Best thing about Fly Fishing is that it's an adventure that can take me everywhere. Not to mention, being a fly-fisher-woman makes all the guys fishing with lures jealous."
Runner-up — Sam Cohen
New York Council of TU
Favorite stream: Ausable River, NY
On being outside and fishing: "I like fishing because I feel like the only worry I have is if I actually catch a fish. Being in nature when fishing is also important to me, because living in the city makes it hard to find a nice spot."
Honorable mention — Minica Casbara
Bitterroot Chapter of TU in Montana
Favorite stream: Canyon Creek
(Favorite fishing: Bitterroot River)
On being outside: "I love everything about the outdoors! I have loved nature my whole life and have always wanted to be an entomologist."
Honorable mention — Noah Lindhout
Schrems West Michigan Chapter of TU
Favorite stream: Rogue River
Honorable mention — Devin Angleberger
Seneca Valley Chapter of TU in Maryland
Favorite stream: Beaver Creek, a famous small limestone spring creek where you can find wild browns and rainbows inhaling cressbugs all day long. It is also not unusual to spot a few rainbows pushing 25" and there are plenty of browns around 20" just waiting to engulf a big articulated streamer.
Musing on being outside and fishing: "I grew up being outside, whether it be climbing on the rocks at the edge of the Potomac, or playing frisbee with my mom. And about a year and a half ago, I came to the sport of fly fishing and soon discovered the real ethics behind it. I am not so worried about how many fish I catch, or how well my drift is, etc. I just go out to have a good time, and maybe learn something new as well. Fly fishing for a year and a half has taught me a bunch, but most importantly to enjoy your time out because after being stuck in school for seven hours, you don't care about how well you did the day before as far as catching. All you want to do is experience that feeling again; the one where all your pressures are relieved and you could spend forever on this little secluded meadow stream."