TONICA — A La Salle-Peru Township High School sophomore has earned respect with his outdoors skills and his ability to teach others by example.
Cole Haynes of rural Tonica was named this spring as a TEACH Outdoors Youth Ambassador “due to his outdoor stewardship, leadership skills, sportsmanship, safety and ethics.”
The son of Tommie and Tricia Haynes of Tonica, Haynes has won the high school division trap-shooting competition for two years in a row, including the Xline competition at Kankakee earlier this month.
But his skills go far beyond sharpshooting.
“Cole has deep roots connected to his ethics related to sportsmanship, family and nature,” according to a TEACH Outdoors press release.
As a member of the TEACH Outdoors youth shooting sports team, Orange Crush, he helps “show them safe ways to do things” and attends other TEACH events to lend a hand and to help with whatever is needed.
“They want me to be like a role model and bring the kids’ opinions to the adults,” he said of his duties as an ambassador. “I really liked what they had going on with TEACH, getting the kids involved with the hunting, the outdoors and shooting.”
Haynes said he has been involved in fishing and hunting with his father since a young age and since age 10 or 11 has been introducing friends from 4-H and neighbors to some of the outdoor pursuits.
His grandfather owns land along the Vermilion River, and Haynes fishes and hunts for waterfowl and deer in that area.
Haynes has served as president of Bailey Creek 4-H Club for the past six years. Since he was in third grade he has been an officer in the club, which meets at his grandfather’s building in Leonore.
He also is a member of the La Salle County Shooting Sports Shotgun Team.
In 4-H, his fair entries include geology boxes, natural resources posters, research on wildlife and habitats. Beekeeping and sportfishing. Plus he shows poultry and rabbits. He has earned Natural Resource Exhibitor of the Year honors, Intermediate Showmanship Winner and Senior Showmanship Winner.
At L-P High, he’s a member of the high school bass fishing team, which finished 10th out of 23 teams at Lake Holiday this past season.
He is the grandson of Marseilles Don and Karen Stillwell and of John Durdan of the Leonore area.