We say the phrase all the time - Take a kid fishing. This past Saturday, we raised the bar and took it to a whole new level. Instead of taking a kid fishing, we took about 40. Thanks to the help of many volunteers and the Waconia Lions Club, we were able to bring joy to many young anglers that would normally not have the opportunity. Judging by their smiles at the end of the day, it was a success.
This is not the first year of the Waconia 'take a kid fishing day,' in fact, I remember my father being a part of it when I was very young. He brought me fishing and a couple of other kids too. I remember it as a fun outing where I got to do my favorite thing, fish, and some other kids got to come too. Fast forward 17 years to the present, and I am blessed to have opportunities to teach and take people fishing on a regular basis. Remembering the trip that I shared many years ago, I jumped when the call came looking for more volunteers.
The jist of the day goes something like this. Local parents sign up with the Waconia Lions Club to bring their kids to the lake. A large group of volunteers are gathered and local companies kick in some product to give to the kids. The morning of the event, volunteers gather at the In Towne Marina and get everything ready to roll. Boats, bait and tackle are all prepared and ready for the eager anglers. This year we had several boaters and a couple of pontoons to accomodate the masses. When the kids show up they are given a jiggle stick ready for action and the guides pair up with the as many kids as they can handle. Some boats have several volunteers and several kids. Since I was solo, I chose two. Then we head out for a few hours on the water. The kids catch fish, laugh, have fun and catch more fish. The little fish get tossed back, but the keepers come home with each boat. A group of guys are gathered at the end and all the fish are cleaned. A lunch is prepared on shore and goodie bags are sorted out for each child to take home.
When all is said and done each child walks away with memories of the fish they caught, the ones that got away and a bag of fillets for the frying pan. Each angler also receives a starter kit with tons of fishing supplies and a new rod and reel combo. With all the volunteers, we were able to spend time teaching many of the kids how to tie knots and rig up their rod and reels. A morning on the water that will hopefully last a lifetime.
Looking back on my past, I couldn't imagine what my life would be like if somebody wouldn't have taken the time to teach me how to fish. I guess it fuels my passion even more when I am put in a position to help someone else. This is the reason why I enjoyed our morning so much, and why I encourage you to give it a try too. It will make a difference if you 'take a kid fishing.' Until next time, keep on livin' the dream!