Hail All Hail Texas Brigades! Chanted by Dr. Dale Rollins on the first day of camp at the Rolling Plains Bobwhite Brigade. Dr. Rollins founded The Rolling Plains Bobwhite Brigade summer camp in 1993. His program has since evolved into eight more events. These camps have grown over the years and become a wonderful experience for youth. It is by far the best summer camp I have ever been to. I highly recommend attending, either as a cadet or adult leader.
Texas Brigades is a youth leadership development summer camp for 13-17-year- olds that focuses on wildlife conservation. Eight different camps are held across Texas from the coast to the Rolling Plains. Each camp consists of 24-30 cadets (youth students attending camp). Each event is five days long and offers a tremendous amount of information regarding wildlife conservation and leadership skills. The eight different camps include Rolling Plains Bobwhite Brigade, South Texas Bobwhite Brigade, North Texas Buckskin Brigade, South Texas Buckskin Brigade, Ranch Brigade, Waterfowl Brigade, Coastal Brigade, and Bass Brigade. What is better than spending a week of your summer learning about wildlife and developing leadership skills?
Camps consist of many fast-paced activities, from anatomy of species, performing a necropsy on the specimen, to going out into the field and learning about bird habitat and foraging needs. Instructors take groups into the field where they gather plants, then return to lodges and make plant collections. There are also group leadership activities and games. These ensure that after you leave camp, you will be able to speak to others about Texas Brigades and give presentations.
Each group is considered a herd, covey, or school depending on which camp you attend. If you attend Bass Brigade, your ìschoolî would consist of 4-6 cadets, an ASL (assistant school leader), and an (AL) adult leader. You spend five days performing all assigned activities and competitions together. Friendships and connections you build at camp will last a lifetime. I believe other cadets would agree with me. Having participated in the Rolling Plains Bobwhite Brigade this past summer has opened a whole new door of opportunities for me.
Arriving at camp is just the beginning. You are assigned a Silver Bullet right away. You might be wondering what exactly that is, but it is nothing hazardous. A Silver Bullet is an inspirational quote, or saying, assigned to you on arrival at camp. You must memorize it and be able to recite it at any time. This exercise helps you step out of your shell and explore avenues and benefits of public speaking.
Food served at a Brigade summer camp is not just your normal, boring summer camp food. It is pork chops, quail, deer, homemade pies, and an abundance of other great selections. Volunteers are truly what makes each camp possible and so interesting, because they all come from different employments, and have their own specialties. Each camp allots new activities, different instructors, and new cadets, all of whom are eager to learn or teach.
I have submitted my application for this summer’s Bass Brigade. I am extremely excited to be able to learn more about bass and their habitat. Learning more about fisheries, their ecosystems, and what they need to survive is something I have always wanted to do, and I look forward to doing so this summer. This opportunity will hopefully allow me to become even more successful in my intended course of study in college, Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences.
Being able to attend the different Texas Brigade camps as a youth conservationist has given me a whole new meaning to the outdoors. Texas Brigades has changed a tremendous amount of lives not only in Texas but other states as well because you do not have to be from Texas to apply. I believe you will be extremely grateful if you apply and put in the work to get accepted and attend a camp. Access the Texas Brigades website here. For applications, due dates, and apparel, please visit their website and feel free to contact the Texas Brigades with any questions or concerns. Applications open November 1 each year and close March 15 of the next year. Thatís plenty of time for you to get involved and see what Texas Brigades is truly about! Conserving a Resource and Preserving a Tradition is truly the mission of the Brigades, and they are doing just that through their cadets.
Battalion 26 of The Rolling Plains Bobwhite Brigade