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home : news : area May 25, 2016

5/13/2014 3:18:00 PM
Special Youth Challenge Turkey Hunt
Left to right: Isaac Gronseth, Emily McCool, Clint Gifford (back), Colton Bjornson (front) Photo by Kelsey Gronseth
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Left to right: Isaac Gronseth, Emily McCool, Clint Gifford (back), Colton Bjornson (front) Photo by Kelsey Gronseth

By Kelsey Gronseth

His phone rang and woke us both up. It was still dark outside.  He slipped out of bed and left the room to take the call.  I looked at my watch and went back to sleep; I wasn't planning on getting up for another few hours.  

Next thing I know, he is pouncing on the bed at 8 a.m. exclaiming "they got one!"  His excitement was the most refreshing wake up call I'd ever had!  

His love for hunting and helping others merge with a program called "The Special Youth Challenge of Southeast Minnesota" or SYC for short headed up by Charlie Olson.  This non-profit organization allows children with special needs to go hunting for turkey's in the spring and deer in the fall with the help of all their wonderful volunteers.  They provide it all and for FREE: lodging, food, guns, special stands with iPod's to view the targets, blinds, guides, drivers, and the muscle to haul it all too!  

They had nine kids come this year to hunt and hope to be able to have twelve kids next year!  This year Emily McCool was the first of three kids to shoot a turkey and happened to be what my wake up call was all about.  

Emily is eighteen years old and has cerebral palsy.  But don't let that fool you!  She an all American girl who hunts and drives her chair like a NASCAR pro!  This is Emily's third year to participate in the SYC program.  She also got a turkey her first year out hunting, but no deer yet.  

Her mother, Beth, told me they're a couple of city girls with no experience hunting.  But when her parents heard about this program from Emily's bus driver, they asked her if she would be interested they rest is history!  Now the McCool family wouldn't miss hunting the with SYC!

Claremont Service

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