Patch Program Targets Youths

NC group offers reward patches for completing outdoor activities

Think of them as Boy Scout merit badges, without the scouts. That’s a short description of a program to reward with patches any youths (and adults) who complete tasks involving the outdoors.

The N.C. Outdoor Heritage Patch Program is the product of the N.C. Outdoor Heritage Advisory Council, an offshoot of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. Its role is to try and get more people involved in outdoor activities like hunting, fishing, camping and hiking — at the same time participation numbers are dropping nationwide.

Olivia Baughman, the Council’s marketing and communications manager, said the program went cranked up this past July, and that there’s been “good response” from the public.

“The goal is to help expose more youth to all of the outdoor heritage opportunities we have,” she said. “Some kids already hunt, some fish, but they don’t do everything else.

“We hope it’s something that will encourage everybody to do more.”

Twelve patches are featured in the 2019 offerings: hiking, bird watching, bear hunting, deer hunting, duck or turkey hunting and fishing for brook trout, catfish, dolphin, largemouth bass, red drum or striped bass.

Youth or adults can obtain forms from, fill them out when a task is finished, and return them for a patch. They’re free for youths ages 16 and under; people older than 16 can get each patch for a $5 donation.

Baughman said the Council plans to add additional patches to the program every year.

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