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Reflections from the Teen Summit | Andrew D

Andrew is a member of the Central New Jersey chapter and a representative of the Youth Leadership Council(YLC).The YLC is the volunteer body made up of TU Teens that helps to set the direction of TU ‘s Youth Education Initiative. Members of the YLC are passionate leaders bringing the mission of TU to their local communities while working on a broader scale to contribute to TU’ s Youth Education Initiative at the national level.YLC members attend monthly calls and complete projects throughout the year.He is pictured above with his first cutthroat caught during his time in Montana.

By Andrew D

Montana has been a fantasy for as long as I can remember. I’ve dreamed about travelling to the famous “Last Best Place,” and experiencing fishing in the high Rocky Mountains. After seeing A River Runs Through It, I was confident that Montana was the ultimate fly fishing location.Learning that the 2016 Trout Unlimited Teen Summit would be held in Montana literally made my dreams come true.Going to Montana for a conservation camp and fly fishing during free time, instantly became the highlight of my summer.

Before I knew it, I had begun my journey over the clouds.When I arrived at the Summit location, Camp Watanopa on Georgetown Lake, I was in complete awe of the surrounding scenery.The crystal clear trout lake was surrounded by tall pine trees, and completed with the backdrop of a high mountain range.The Summit was an incredible experience.Five days with an incredible group of teens, all passionate about conservation and fly fishing.We had some amazing fishing, productive discussions, incredible speakers, and many good laughs.I made so many new friends, learned so much about the unique fisheries management system in Montana, I learned to fly fish a lake, and I caught my first cutthroat trout!The memories made at the summit were unforgettable.

Photo by Andrew D. This is the view from Camp Watanopa onto Georgetown Lake with the Pintler Mountains in the background

This year was my second TU Teen Summit, and this year I think I learned to be a stronger leader. Last year I had discovered what the YLC actually was (a group of Teens who attended the summit working to involve other teens in conservation), and this year I am looking to continue working in the YLC, but also learn to lead more projects and work to bring the ideas we discussed during the summit into legitimate projects that can accomplish the goal of the YLC.

My favorite moment during the summit was probably on the third morning. We had struggled to catch the large, spooky rainbows for the first two days of the summit. I had woken up before dawn determined to figure out the secret of the fishery, and land a big one. After finding a shoreline covered with cruising fish, finally convinced one to rise to a dry fly just minutes before returning to camp for breakfast. After a strong fight, and a quick net by my friend Andrew, we had a healthy 19 inch rainbow in the net. Sharing this rewarding moment with great friends in such an extraordinary location, is a memory I’ll never forget.