Working to Preserve South Dakota’s Hunting & Fishing Heritage!
Youth Conservation Camp
Imagine sending your teenagers on a week-long adventure where they can learn to hunt, fish, and enjoy the great outdoors! This once-in-a-lifetime experience is called Youth Conservation Camp and it’s sponsored by the South Dakota Wildlife Federation.

Since the first camp was held in 1964, thousands of South Dakota youth have experienced the excitement of outdoor sports while learning the importance of conserving our natural resources.

The Youth Conservation Camp is held in early June at Camp Bob Marshall in the beautiful Black Hills. Camp participants are housed in rustic cabins with modern bathrooms and eating facilities. The camp has a director, two assistant directors, and two counselors for each cabin of 12 teens, along with other staff members. Transportation is available to and from the camp. See the Bus Schedule for more information.

Priority reservations run from January 1st to March 1st. For a priority reservation, apply directly to a local affiliate club or to a local Soil Conservation District Office. These organizations screen applicants as to eligibility and provide financial assistance to participants.

If neither of these are available in your area, send the Camp Application Form to Mike McKernan, Camp Director.  A check in the amount of $300 must be included. 

After March 1, reservations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis until the camp quota is filled. Reservations can be cancelled and checks refunded until May 15.

For more information on the SDWF Youth Conservation Camp, please contact:

Mike McKernan, Camp Director
P.O. Box 246
Murdo, SD 57559
(605) 669-2829

Chris Hesla, Executive Director
South Dakota Wildlife Federation
P.O. Box 7075
Pierre, SD 57501-7075
(605) 224-7524

Boys and girls between the ages of 15 and 17, who are in the upper half of their class scholastically, and are interested in conservation as a hobby or vocation are eligible to attend the camp.
A variety of conservation and outdoor recreation activities are offered, such as:

• Archery 
• Conservation Officer Investigations 
• Fish Netting/Lake Survey 
• Lake/Stream Fishing 
• Insect Identification 
• Solve the Case 
• Stream Ecology 
• Bird Basics 
• Boating Safety 
• Wildlife Photography 
• Fly Tying 
• Deer/Elk Tracking 
• Shooting Skills 
• Lighting Ceremony at Mt. Rushmore 

There are a total of four awards presented at the camp. 

• "Doc McClellan Award" recognizing the outstanding staff member or presenter during the camp.

• "Swede Larsen Award" reognizing the outstanding efforts of an individual who promoted the camp. 

• "Bob Erdman Award " recognizing the outstanding male participant.

• "Ervin Roher Award"recognizing the outstanding female participant. 

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© 2012 South Dakota Wildlife Federation. All Rights Reserved.
PO Box 7075 Pierre, SD 57501 | 605-224-7524
Celebrating the 51st Year of Youth Conservation Camp
June 2014
Photos by Mike McKernan
Who May Attend?
How Do I Apply?