Capt. Rodney Smith and his wife Karen, along with a loyal cadre of volunteers with Anglers for Conservation, have been helping teach kids how to fish for more than a decade.
Their “Hook Kids on Fishing” programs, normally hosted at local ponds or riverside parks, use a series of “centers” that enable the children to learn the simple basics of fishing at each station before moving onto the next. The final station is actually fishing, using what the kids have just learned. Each kid receives a free rod and reel and a basic “stocked” tackle box. This technique, coupled with a child’s natural curiosity and “sponge-like” ability to learn new fun things, can and does equip children with all the basics they need to enter the wonderful world of fishing.
But that’s not all. As if teaching someone at an early age how to enjoy a lifetime of fun, relaxation and excitement in the outdoors wasn’t enough, several of these “stations” also teach kids to be good stewards of the environment. Pick up your trash, don’t litter, heck… pick up other people’s litter. Here’s how you safely release your catch back into the water. They are helping to ensure the sustainability of our sport for future generations to come.
Perhaps even more importantly, they are filling a mentoring role in helping these anglers develop a love of the outdoors. That’s outside not inside. No television or computer games at the pond or the riverside. Nature, the nature that you and I cherish, the nature that enables many a kid to avoid the trappings associated with a less well-rounded existence. A plethora of studies have proven that kids who spend more time in the outdoors tend to lead healthier and more productive lives. Not every parent or grandparent knows how to fish, or how to teach their kids to fish, but what each of the adults who bring a child to these “Hook Kids on Fishing” programs know, is that their child will be advantaged during the course of their lives by being a part of this wonderful outdoor activity that you and I sometimes take for granted.
Imagine your life if you had never learned to fish. Startling, isn’t it?
This is a very noble cause that this group of humble volunteers has taken on. Anglers for Conservation is a non-profit organization well worthy of our help and support. We simply cannot say enough about this organization. For more information on how you can help this awesome group of volunteers, Check out Anglers for Conservation website at www.anglersforconservation.org and give them a like on Facebook!