If you’re already on the lookout for summer activities to keep the kids occupied, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is sponsoring two week-long summer workshops for kids ages 12 to 16 at the Waddill Outdoor Education Center in Baton Rouge.

The camps are free, and will allow participants to receive both their official boater and hunter education certificates, according to a press release.

Camps will be held June 23-27 and again on July 21-25.

Since the goal of the camp is to introduce and teach kids about the outdoors, 25 kids who have not completed a boater or hunter education certificate will be selected for each week, the release states. 

"These camps provide a lot of time for learning classroom material that the children then get a chance to utilize with hands on activities immediately outside later that same day,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham.  “For a week, parents have the chance to let their kids become sportsmen and women in a safe, supervised environment.”

To register for the camp, parents must fill out an online application available here by May 27. 

Parents must fill out a separate application for each child they wish to register, and may only register their child for one of the camps, the release states.

LDWF will choose the 25 kids for each camp based on the child’s lack of experience with fishing, boating and hunting, and parents will be notified by phone or email if their child has been selected, according to the release.

The Waddill Outdoor Education Center is located at 4142 North Flannery Road, and participants must be dropped off between 7 and 8 a.m. and picked up between 4 and 5 p.m. Attendance every day is mandatory in order to receive the certifications.

The boating education course is mandatory for anybody born after Jan. 1, 1984 and proof of completion of the course is necessary to operate a motorboat in excess of 10 horsepower.  

The course includes information on choosing a boat, classification, hulls, motors, legal requirements and equipment requirements.  It also covers many navigation rules and charts, trailering, sailboats, canoeing, personal watercraft and more.  

The hunter education course is mandatory for anyone born on or after Sept. 1, 1969, who plans on purchasing a hunting license.  The hunter education curriculum includes sections on ethics and responsibility, wildlife management, firearms and ammunition, safety in the field, wildlife identification and wildlife conservation.  

LDWF and Podnuh’s Bar-B-Q of Baton Rouge is providing a daily lunch free of charge for the five-day camps.   Cabela's in Gonzales also donated rod-and-reel combos for each child that they can take home at the end of the camp. 

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation and Coastal Conservation Association Louisiana are each providing two lifetime hunting and fishing combo licenses that will be given to four of participants, the release states.