Daniel Eacrett hopes to one day become a rancher. His selection to an elite camp this summer puts him one step closer to achieving his dream.

Daniel has been chosen to participate in the Texas Brigades program now in its 22nd year. The mission of the program is to educate and empower youth with leadership skills and knowledge in wildlife, fisheries, and land stewardship to become conservation ambassadors and sustain natural resources.

There are seven camps this summer, including two Buckskin Brigades, two Bobwhite Brigades, and Bass, Waterfowl and Ranch brigades.

Daniel was selected to attend the Ranch Brigade based on his academic records, interest in wildlife and natural resources, and leadership activities.

“I hope to learn the ins-and-outs of cattle ranching, the medical aspect and the business side,” Daniel said, who is the treasurer of the Copperas Cove 4-H Club. “I hope to one day operate a large ranch in the Texas Hill Country and raise organic steers and sell them to market. I hope to have a few hundred cattle.”

While Daniel lives in a rural area outside the city limits, his family has several pets, including a dog and a rabbit, but no cattle. Daniel said this situation makes the camp’s information invaluable to him. Daniel’s sister attended Texas Brigades two other summers.

“It is a pretty rigorous application process,” he said. “I had to write two essays, apply those, and then wait to hear back. My sister gave me some pretty good tips on how to prepare the application and provided all sorts of great information.”

Helen Holdsworth, Texas Brigades executive director, expects the Ranching Brigade to exceed Daniel’s expectations.

“Kids come here and have no ranching background. But we start talking about ag production and the importance of it to our state and our country and that’s when they get really interested,” she said. “They’ll do activities they do on ranches and get some hands-on experience. The most important thing for Daniel is the people he will meet at the camp because these instructors are in the industry.”

Holdsworth said Daniel will make connections to help him achieve his goal of ranching after high school or college. The Ranching Brigade is at Warren Ranch outside of Santa Anna in Coleman County and lasts a week. The cost to attendees is $400.

For information on the 2015 camps, call Holdsworth at 210-884-3712 or go to www.texasbrigades.org/.

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