Pheasants Forever (PF) and Quail Forever’s (QF) National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC) – the only youth leadership council of its kind – recently elected two new members as ambassadors for outdoor traditions. Kayla Gadeken of Seward, Nebraska, and Wyatt Fornstrom of Pine Bluffs, Wyoming, represent the newest additions to the council. Both Gadeken and Fornstrom hope to make a positive impact on youth outdoor participation through their involvement with NYLC.
The National Youth Leadership Council is made up of 20 young conservation leaders from around the country who represent their age group on issues related to wildlife conservation and hunting. They work at the local, state and national level to be ambassadors for outdoor traditions and land stewardship, as well as advise Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever on youth programs.
Kayla Gadeken is a 14 year old from Seward, Nebraska, who was nominated to the National Youth Leadership Council by Jerry McDonald, Pheasants Forever Eastern Nebraska Regional Representative, and mentored through the application and selection process by the Seward County Pheasants Forever chapter. Gadeken enjoys hunting, fishing and spending time outdoors. She has been involved in 4H since she was 5 years old and has received a variety of awards and recognition from 4H. Some of her favorite 4H activities include riding and showing her horses, Junior Leadership, Competitive Rifle Shooting and the Junior Wildlife Habitat Evaluation Program. She competed in the 2012 U.S. Junior Olympic Championships in Precision 50-Meter Rifle and 10-Meter Air Rifle and was the 2012 NRA National Champion (14 and under) in Sporter Air Rifle.
Gadeken is excited about her NYLC appointment and looks forward to helping others enjoy the outdoors. She has already met with state officials in an effort to rekindle the Wildlife Habitat Evaluation Program (WHEP) in Nebraska.
“As a member of the National Youth Leadership Council, one of my goals is to help get young people my age involved with the outdoors. Sitting, listening and watching nature, as well as hunting, is a major draw for me, and I want other people my age to have those experiences,” says Gadeken.
Wyatt Fornstrom is a 13 year old from Pine Bluffs, Wyoming, who was nominated to the National Youth Leadership Council by the High Plains Pheasants Forever chapter. Fornstrom is passionate about spending time outdoors hunting and fishing. In addition, he participates in the shooting sports portion of 4H, having competed at both the county and state level. He is also active in football, basketball, and track, and has received the Gold Academic Presidential Award all four quarters of school. Fornstrom is especially looking forward to helping PF and QF get other kids and their families outdoors and sharing his passion for outdoor traditions.
“My grandpa taught me to appreciate the outdoors, and I want other people to have the same experiences I have,” notes Fornstrom. “Too many kids stay inside and play video games all day, and as a member of the National Youth Leadership Council, that is something I hope to change.”
“The National Youth Leadership Council is a unique group of young conservation leaders. We are extremely proud of their accomplishments and their representation of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever. Kayla and Wyatt are exciting additions to our team and will help build the NYLC legacy even larger than it already is,” says Rich Wissink, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever National Youth Programs Manager.
The NYLC has worked on such important issues as bringing attention to the federal Farm Bill and its significance to wildlife habitat and conservation, the role hunters have played in conservation in North America, and helped pass state legislation to reduce age restrictive barriers to introduce young people to hunting. The NYLC will continue to work on issues that deal with hunting, conservation and wildlife habitat.
For more information regarding Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s National Youth Leadership Council, please contact Rich Wissink at (715) 722-0286 or email Rich.
Image courtesy Pheasants Forever