Graziano Awarded Trip To Youth Camp
Inside the Outdoors, May 11
, 2012

If ever there were three words that defines Johnny Graziano’s attitude toward his spare time sport, they are eagerness, enthusiasm and enjoyment when it comes to participating in the art of fly fishing. “As a result, Forbes Trail Chapter Trout Unlimited will be paying tuition for one student to attend the Rivers Conservation and Fly Fishing Youth Camp in Boiling Springs, PA, June 17 to 22,” so stated Monty Murty, FTTU president. “We have chosen Johnny. He took part in one of our youth group programs several years ago.”

The 14 year-old will be among 32 other teens, ages 14-17, chosen throughout Pennsylvania to take part in this, the original Trout Unlimited youth camp.

According to the camp’s website, “In the fall of 1994, Dr. Jack Beck had an idea: If there are camps for basketball and band, computers and ballet, why not have a camp for coldwater conservation? He enlisted the aid of fellow TU member, Enoch “Inky” Moore, who had experience in outdoor youth education. Within months, the camp began to take form. Its curriculum would consist of college-level material shaped for camp setting, with each class building upon the framework established earlier in the week. Classes would focus on both conservation and fly fishing. The best and brightest students who were interested in these topics would then be chosen for the camp.” Goals of TU are conservation, restoration of resources and education, particularly of youth.

It went on to state that on June 25th, 1995, the first Rivers Conservation and Fly Fishing Youth Camp commenced. Representatives from various organizations were on hand to welcome the students. “In 2001, the camp was presented with the Trout Unlimited Conservationist of the Year Award in recognition of the impact on the lives of young men and women, ”the website stated. “However, the bigger accolade comes from the fact that over a dozen other youth conservation and fly fishing camps have sprung up around the country – many following the structure put in place by the Pennsylvania camp.”

Leader of the youth group for FTTU, Drew Banas stated, “I was impressed with Johnny’s passion and commitment with the art of fly fishing. He is a very enthusiastic fly fisherman and will only further his knowledge and abilities by attending this camp. He is a valuable participant in FTTU’s conservation and youth fly fishing program and we hope that his leadership abilities will encourage other youth to sign up for FTTU’s programs,” he said.

Son of Mr. and Mrs. John Graziano, his mother, Lisa, revealed that Johnny will tie flies in his room for hours, “as many as five hours at a time. He then will arrange them perfectly in a little case where they are kept.” She added, “Often he will head over the hill from our Mission Road property and go fly fishing in the Loyalhanna Creek.”

A question that arose is “Does Johnny keep any of the fish he catches?” to which his mother stated, “He believes in catch and release. However, once in a while he may bring one home if he knows it will be cooked up and not frozen.”

In addition to his ability to be a great fly fisherman, Johnny loves to hunt as well. Recently while hunting with his father in Somerset County, he called in a turkey, harvesting a 20-pound bird with a ten and one-half inch beard. His choice of weapon – a 12-gauge shotgun.

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Since the subject of hunting was raised, I got an email from long-time hunter, John Stewart, who commented on a story that he read concerning the story of a turkey hunter being shot. His advice was this:

“I carry a blaze orange band with a Velcro strip that I can wrap around a nearby tree, about six or seven feet above ground, if I’m going to be sitting in one location for awhile. It’s highly visible and should serve as notice that there’s a hunter in the area. Not expensive, it is available in some sporting goods stores. I personally feel it’s a good idea.

According to Tom Fazi of the Pennsylvania Game Commission, one is not required to wear orange during spring gobbler season. In reference to the above news story, he said, “It is the hunter’s responsibility to identify his target.” As for the tree bands Stewart talked about, Fazi identified them as “Orange Alert Bands.”

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Finally, stocking of trout recently has been and will be taking place at various water basins. These include: Donegal Lake, May 12; Fourmile Run, from T880 Donegal Lake Road to the end of T595 (Kline Rd. to its mouth), May 11; Keystone State Park Lake, May 7; and Linn Run, from UNT 500M upstream of Grove Run down to the lower state park boundary, May 11.


- Paul J. Volkmann
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