The Flatlanders Chapter has a long tradition of preparing our YOUTH for the future. Many of our members have Family memberships which includes spouses and kids. We recognize that youth are our future, not only for the continued existence of the organization but for the future of the environment and the fishery. Fishing is a much better alternative to many of the distractions that the youth face today, so why not get them involved early?
We promote respect for the environment, while at the same time teaching why it is important to conserve the resource. Here are some of the events we have hosted in the past.
We helped sponsor sending a youth member to Camp Fish in Minnesota. Here the kids learned not only valuable lessons in fishing but also the importance of ethics and comradery!
For several years we co-hosted Youth Fishing Days in conjunction with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Rockford. Big Brothers/Big Sisters supplied the kids, we did the rest! The events were held at Pierce Lake in Rock Cut State Park. Kids were taught a variety of topics, from species to tackle, to why it is important to conserve and protect the resource! A cookout was included and the kids were sent home with the rods and reels that we provided.
The Big Brothers/Big Sisters event evolved into a city wide event and became known as “Lets Take Our Kids Fishing Day”. The format was similar to the previous events, except it was opened up to include any kid from the area. Again, kids were taught some basic fishing “skills” then it was off to the lake to catch some of the local whoppers! We continued with the cookout for the kids and their parents or guardians. All kids took home their new rods and reels which the Chapter again provided. And, thanks to the generosity of one of our members who was employed by a toy manufacturer, all kids got to take home a brand new toy! A fun time was had by all!
Another YOUTH oriented event we have presented was at our local Sport Show. We had a booth there to promote the Chapter. Next to the booth we set-up a little fishing “pond”. This pond was not water, but rather a table with a hole in it. Kids could drop a line and a Flatlander was concealed underneath. The member would attach a prize to the line, give it a gentle tug, and the kid got to reel in his prize! It was always fun to see the smile on those kids’ faces!
Several of our members coach fishing teams at local high schools. We have supported their efforts when asked for help.
At our monthly meetings we put out a collection jar. This money, in conjunction with other funding raised by the chapter, goes to support Youth oriented events and high school fishing teams . Due to the Covid pandemic which we are currently experiencing, we have not been able to meet, so 2020 has not been a good year for holding meetings, including youth events. We hope that when the pandemic is over, we will get back to being able to sponsor more Youth events! We welcome you to join us in this endeavor!