Connecting With Nature At The SWF Youth Conservation Camp

Every summer, young members of the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation branches travel to to the north end of Candle Lake, Saskatchewan for a week unlike any other.  They hunt, fish and learn survival skills. They discover a self-confidence they never knew they had. They build lifelong friendships. They attend the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation Youth Conservation Camp.

The Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation (SWF) Youth Conservation Camp, held at the Hannin Creek Education Facility, was developed to offer young people the opportunity to learn and experience the great outdoors.  The Camp has been an ongoing success for over 30 years, and continues to thrive, welcoming a new group of campers each summer.

The Hannin Creek Education Facility provides the perfect location for the SWF Conservation Camp.  A partnership between the SWF and Saskatchewan Polytechnic, the camp is located in the beautiful Boreal Forest in remote northern Saskatchewan on the shores of Candle Lake.

At camp, boys and girls aged 12 to 15 are given hands-on learning in a wide range of outdoor activities including archery, canoeing, shooting, trapping, wildlife and plant identification, survival skills, camp cooking, fisheries studies, map and compass use, and so much more.

Each day at camp brings new challenges and new adventures.  One of the perennial favourites is fisheries studies.  Campers learn proper fishing tactics, fish identification and anatomy, along with water and boat safety.  A fish fry on the beach is the perfect way to end a day of learning.

When on land, campers are shown the different wildlife habitats, archery, knife safety, plant identification, knot tying and trapping.

The week of learning culminates with the annual Bushman and Bushwoman challenge.  Skills learned are put to the test, and campers showcase and celebrate their new leadership and teamwork skills.

With camp-outs under the stars and daily connections to nature, the SWF Youth Conservation Camp provides youth with the opportunity to get away from their technology driven world.  They experience the benefits of being in nature first hand.  They thrill in the sense of independence and accomplishment that comes from starting a fire from nothing but twigs; they learn the importance of the simple things in life, like waking up with the birds or watching a moose bathe in the creek with her calf; they learn to understand and respect just how diverse our natural world is; and, as they roast marshmallows over the campfire while the Northern lights dance overhead, they learn to take time to reflect on life.

The SWF Youth Conservation Camp will continue to offer the opportunity to youth across the province to experience all that Saskatchewan’s wildlife has to offer.

The Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation (SWF) is a non-profit, non-government, charitable organization of over 34,000 members in 123 branches across Saskatchewan representing every walk of life.  Per capita, we are the largest wildlife conservation organization of its kind in the world.  Established in 1929, the SWF has become an acknowledged leader in the conservation field. For more information on the SWF Youth Conservation Camp, the Hannin Creek Education Facility, or any of the other SWF programs, contact the SWF at 306-692-8812, or visit

This article previously appeared in the June 2016 issue of DIRECTION magazine.