Duane Fraser, an NSCC student from Westville and ‘Duck Dynasty’ enthusiast, is hoping to form a group to bring families together through nature and outdoor activities. He got the idea from the hit A&E reality show and believes that reconnecting with nature may help to address issues many school children face such as bullying. JOHN BRANNEN – THE NEWS
STELLARTON – With his long, scruffy beard, camouflage pants, ball cap and ripped plaid vest, Duane Fraser looks like a member of the Robertson family from the hit A&E series “Duck Dynasty.”
“I was in the grocery store the other day and two young boys were arguing if I looked more like Ci or Willie,” said Fraser with a laugh.
Regardless of which of the half-dozen bearded men from the show he resembles, there’s no question he looks like someone who enjoys the outdoors and Duck Dynasty.
“People may think they are dumb hillbillies or rednecks, but they’re not looking very deep into the show,” Fraser explained. “They have their issues and arguments, but they always come together for a family dinner at the end because they’re family.”
Fraser, a student at Nova Scotia Community College campus in Stellarton, is from Westville, and hopes to bring that sense of connectedness with the outdoors and familial mutual respect to Pictou County through the show Duck Dynasty. He hopes to accomplish this by forming a group that will bring families together through nature and outdoor activities.
The reality show, which started last year, documents the lives of the Robertson family, who became wealthy from their Louisiana-based, family-operated business that makes products for duck hunters.
Fraser hopes his education will set him up for a career in the Department of Natural Resources so he can work in the field he’s most passionate about.
“I’m a woodsmen at heart and I think that kids can really benefit from some quality family time while hiking, camping or fishing,” said Fraser.
“My dad left when I was a kid, and my mom took care of me. I took lots of trips with my uncles and grandfather duck hunting. It was always fun, even if we didn’t get anything.”
In his own family, he noted that he found it difficult to connect with and wasn’t close with his son. But he took him fishing one day and it was like therapy and now the two talk, are connected and have a pastime they both love.
“Now, all he wants to do is fish every weekend, which is fine by me,” said Fraser.
While he has sent emails to the show, he has yet to get a reply from the Robertson family or their staff. Though this means he can’t use the name and brand on posters or publicity, by using the ‘Duck Dynasty’ template of families that can do activities together, he’s hoping that some of the problems affecting youth in the county will be resolved.
“Essentially, I think schools and the government are wasting money on these ‘there, there…’ programs,” said Fraser. He noted that some programs simply miss the point and what students need are challenges and adventure.
“My grandmother used to say idle hands were the devil’s hands. Now, I’m not a religious man, but there’s truth to that.”
Fraser isn’t alone in his pursuit of an outdoor-based program that emphasizes family and friends.
“I’ve got a lot of support from my teachers here at NSCC even though it’s not affiliated with the school,” he said.
Other nature groups in Pictou County that he has pitched his idea to have expressed an interest as well. He’s not optimistic that anyone from the Robertson family will get back to him because of the bureaucracy of TV shows.
“It may not be up to them to let us use their images or photos because of contracts and what-not but I’ll be moving forward regardless.”
For Fraser, the idea of the show of a family enjoying the woods and nature while reconnecting is most important.
“If I could help even a handful of students in elementary school reconnect with nature and their families, it would be worth it.”
On Twitter: @NGNewsJohn