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Local boy wins YCCF Outdoor Experience Award

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Jackson Wade will fish in Canada this summer

By Barbara Rowley Contributor

Twelve-year old Jackson Wade of Big Sky will spend a week on a remote Canadian island this summer learning deep-sea fishing, as the second recipient of the David Mueller Outdoor Experience Award.

Wade’s application caught the attention of the selection committee because it was “thoughtful and insightful,” said Yellowstone Club Executive Director Casey Schwartz, and because “we agree that Dave Mueller would have loved the opportunity to explore and fish this remote island.”

Wade, who has grown up in Big Sky, says he applied for the funds to go to Lama Pass Fishing Resort because while most people would consider his hometown somewhat remote, he’d like to kick it up a notch.

“You have to fly there, and then take a three-hour boat ride and then drive for a half-hour more,” Wade said. “You are experiencing a remote part of the world… that is really natural, waking up with birds singing in your ears.”

Wade first heard of the experience from a classmate at Ophir, whose family owns the resort. His friend’s description of learning how to deep sea fish and navigate open water was immediately compelling to Wade, who has grown up fishing the Gallatin just a stone’s throw from his canyon home.

“I want to learn how to be safe in a boat and the ocean, and get an opportunity to learn navigation skills by map reading and a compass,” he wrote in his application. “I would also like to gain some independence and self-reliance by gathering wood and cleaning fish by myself.”

There were many applicants for the memorial award this year, Schwartz said, and the choice wasn’t easy. “But Jackson’s communication skills and excellent references really set him apart.”

The annual award, which is open to children from 12 to 18 and gives preference to local applicants, offers one scholarship annually of up to $5,000. Last year’s recipient was Griffin House, who used the funds to attend a National Outdoor Leadership School trip.

Sam Byrne, a Yellowstone Club member, established and funded the award in honor of Dave Mueller, who died in 2010. The award is administered by the Yellowstone Club Community Foundation.

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