Accuracy, precision, responsibility, humility, and family. This is what Backwater Legacies instills in everyone that comes through the program. The investment that the volunteers and instructors have shown towards the cadets over the years is one unlike anything I have ever experienced. The skills that the program refines in all that come through the program is astounding. The courses, merit range tests (MRT), written tests, and curriculums that Backwater Legacies uses are very challenging, but become a great achievement for kids and adults as well. The tests are designed to develop young men and women to be both accurate and precise to promote ethical hunting skills, as well as to build persistence and perseverance in all that attend the program.
I have been a part of Backwater Legacies for over five years now, participating in every level, from cadet, to junior counselor, volunteer, and now as an instructor. Throughout this time, I have graduated high school, moved to Idaho, and have been working on a degree in education. However, every summer I travel back for at least one week of the Academy so that I can help to give back to the cadets so they can have the same amazing experience that I had during my four years there.
When I was first transitioning from a cadet to a junior counselor to volunteer, I was graduating high school and entering college. My experience working with the cadets, seeing them grow, helping them push themselves, and supporting them when they need confidence, has led me to pursue my future career in education. The time I’ve spent with Backwater Legacies has really changed my life. As a cadet, I made life-long friends, improved my shooting skills, and learned a lot about myself as well as learned skills that I might not have received anywhere else. I have found a great passion.
Stan Gray / Gosport, IN
My son Clayton has been attending Backwater Legacies camps and seminars ever since they started. They have found a way to reach out to the kids that have no interest in football, basketball, or other sports.
Backwater Legacies not only educates our youth on how to shoot a firearm, they teach leadership and encourage individual accountability. Instructors teach the responsibility and patience to wait for the best shot and the safest way to harvesting game.
I really appreciate the staff for the mentoring our children and encouraging them to do the right thing. They have reinforced what all parents should be teaching their kids, accountability and responsibility for his or her actions with or without a firearm.
Destiny Bush / Bedford, IN
Two of my three children have been a part of this program for several years and will continue to be because they love it. The quality of this program is more than hunting and safety skills. They learn about integrity and values with a Biblical foundation. I was so impressed with this program and could honestly say so much more about the staff and facilities as well, but I will just end with they are top notch all around!
Hannah Kennedy / Fishers, Indiana
Backwater Legacies has been a once in a lifetime experience for me. From my first day at the camp up until now, every single one of the instructors and volunteer workers have invested their time into my life. From learning safety in firearms, archery, tracking and trapping; to how to become a better leader, friend, and counselor. I worked through all four years of training courses that there are at Backwater Legacies, and through those four years, I advanced in my knowledge of hunting safety and skills, but, also matured into the person I never knew I wanted to become. I admired the counselors and enjoyed how engaged they were with me and the other cadets; even when we weren’t learning in new classes.
They had become my best friend by the end of the week. I realize how important it is to be a counselor. Although some of the cadets view it as we’re ‘the boss’ of them, it isn’t the true meaning of being a counselor at all. Being a counselor at Backwater Legacies is: taking on tasks bigger than yourself to get events ready for the day, putting each child’s needs before our own, cooking, cleaning, and keeping track of all cadets with medication. It’s caring from the ‘first day alone’ for cadets who miss their family and dont have a single friend at the camp.
As a counselor, I BECOME their best friend. It’s not forced. I earn their trust. I learn things about them that make them unique. One of the best things about the Academy is how it is centered in Christ. You can see and feel the love from the moment you walk in and are surrounded by all of the instructors and counselors. It’s also incredible to see how the cadets from ages 8-15 interact during the devotionals every evening. The questions vary from the surface discussions to the depths of their hearts. Our main focus is to teach the skills and safety of hunting, but one of my favorite things is seeing them highly focused on what the speaker is teaching and reading about in the bible during devotions. It’s cool to watch when the cadets recite a bible verse by memory to earn their ‘ministry patch’. For some cadets, it takes days for them to memorize a single verse. The cadets are dedicated, because once they start, they’re not done until the job is finished the right way.
I have been a counselor for 3 years now, and each year I have lead a devotional. My first time was during a lunch time devotion with everyone and two others were for the lady cadets before bed time. God has worked through me to touch the hearts of many cadets and counselor’s lives. I will always share my love for Christ at Backwater Legacies, as well as anywhere else I go. I was put on earth to do God’s work, and Backwater Legacies has been one of the places that God has placed in my life and it has been a blessing. I’ve been able to teach cadets what I love the most about God’s wonderful creation. I am proud to be a counselor who is in love with helping all ages of cadets, and the importance and understanding of Hunting, Fishing and Loving Christ everyday.
Shania Davis / Ellettsville, IN
First, I would like to thank you for providing a way for youth to become educated in hunting and other similar fields. I have been present at the last two hunting clinics and have had a wonderful time. They have provided a tremendous amount of information through the experienced people that have spoken and demonstrated for us.
No one in my family hunts or has education in the field so these things are extremely important to me. I am very interested in picking up the sport. It seems to be something I would really enjoy.
During my first year at a Backwater Legacies clinic, I was extremely blessed to have won a Mossberg 12 Gauge Shotgun. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to hunt with it yet, but I have enjoyed shooting clay pigeons. Thankfully, I will soon be able to take it hunting through the guided hunts that Backwater Legacies provides. I am looking very forward for the hunt and the thrill of getting my first buck! Once again, I would like to thank you on behalf of all the youth for providing these exciting events.