Students ages 12-15 with an interest in natural resources and law enforcement are encouraged to apply for the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police’s summer Youth Academies, in their fourth year.

The Youth Academy is a five-day program designed to teach youth about boating safety, hunter safety and how to protect natural resources while looking to nurture the relationship between DNREC Natural Resources Police officers and the community. Participants in the Youth Academy attend tuition-free.

Since the program’s inception in 2016, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police have held seven academies, serving 122 youth, all of whom received their boating safety and hunter safety certifications. In 2018, a total of 44 students graduated from the academies.

This year’s offerings include two Basic Youth Academies and one Advanced Youth Academy: the Natural Resources Police Basic Youth Academy in Kent County, set for July 8-12 at Little Creek Hunter Education Training Center, 3018 Bayside Drive, Dover; the Natural Resources Police Basic Youth Academy in New Castle County, set for July 15-19 at Ommelanden Hunter Education Training Center, 1205 River Road, New Castle; and the Natural Resources Police Advanced Youth Academy in New Castle County, set for July 23-27 at Ommelanden Hunter Education Training Center.

Application deadline for all academies is June 7.

The Basic Youth Academies are each limited to the first 20 qualified applicants, with priority given to those who have not already completed a hunter safety course or boating safety course when the academy begins. Applications must include a 250-word essay on why the applicant wants to take part in the academy and what Delaware’s natural resources mean to them. Students who complete the program will receive both their hunter and boating safety certifications.

The Advanced Youth Academy is for those who wish to continue learning what it is like to be a Natural Resources Police officer, as well as to learn additional outdoor skills. The academy is open to youth ages 12-15 who have either completed the Basic Youth Academy or have already earned their hunter safety and boating safety certifications. An overnight camping excursion is included and parent/guardian participation is mandatory for this portion.

The Advanced Youth Academy is limited to the first 15 qualified applicants, with priority given to those who have already completed the Basic Youth Academy. Applications must include a 500-word essay on either what the applicant learned from the Basic Youth Academy or, if they did not attend, what the applicant learned when they took their hunter and boating safety courses.

Applications are available at de.gov/fwenforcement and at DNREC’s licensing desk in the Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover.

Opportunities to support the Youth Academies are available. Without the generous support and donations from the business community, private organizations and individuals, the youth academies would not be successful.

For more, call 365-8703 or email brian.pollock@delaware.gov.