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Democrat Photo by Susan LeBar

FIVE-YEAR-OLD Andrew Carroll aims carefully before shooting an arrow at Saturday’s Youth Outdoor Expo. Behind Carroll is Elman Groom of the Sullivan County Archers.

Youth Expo Is Fun
And Educational

By Susan LeBar
GRAHAMSVILLE — September 12, 2006 — On Saturday, the Grahamsville Fairgrounds was filled with young and old outdoors’ people who were just getting back to nature and learning a little more about the outdoors at the fifth annual Youth Outdoor Expo sponsored by the Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs of Sullivan County, the Sullivan County Democrat and the Fish and Wildlife Coalition for Youth-Hudson Valley-Catskills.
As people traveled in and out of the gate, young people held on to their grandparents’ hands or even their mom’s and dad’s as they marveled at the array of action at the Youth Expo, which proved to be a busy event.
Programs during the day included:  horseback riding, BB gun shooting, a turkey shoot, archery, building birdhouses, fishing in a trout pond and so much more. Demonstrations were held by the K-9 Police, Sullivan County Sheriff’s Department and local emergency crews as well as a bass fishing seminar throughout the day.
Chairman Hank D’Auria was very happy with the turnout.
“Every child that comes here today receives a pass to give them a free hot dog, soda, ice cream as well as a chance at getting a fish and catching it,” he said. “It is so nice to see the kids out and enjoying the outdoors and not sitting in front of the television or a video game. That is our goal here today – to get the kids more involved in the outdoors – and with this turnout, I think we are making a difference.”
Carl Van Valkenburg of the Project Child Gun Safety Exhibit said, “I have been here the past three years and it gets bigger and bigger each year and it is great to see all the kids out here. The kids are showing a lot of enthusiasm and this is such a great way to introduce them to the outdoors.”
Five-year-old Andrew Carroll of Savannah, Ga. was having fun at the expo’s archery station.
“I like that I can shoot the bow and it is a lot of fun here today and I am spending time with my grandpa and that is nice, too.”
Andrew’s grandfather Andrew Carroll Sr. added, “I was here last year and I just knew that Andrew would love this event. The organizations here today and the sponsors do so much for the kids, it is great.  Everyone involved with this needs to receive a great big round of applause.”
The expo also featured numerous raffles and giveaways as well as prizes for a friendly fishing competitions.
The winners included: 14-year-old Brett McKean, who took first place for the largest Rainbow Trout, Chad Gerow, who won the fishing boat, and Bernice Montalvo, who won the Frost Valley YMCA weekend trip.
In all, 319 children and their parents participated in the event.

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