A number of years ago, a retired police officer came up with an idea to help keep kids out of trouble later in life. His idea was, if they learned to love the art and sport of fishing, it could be a lifelong hobby and provide an alternative to hanging out in the streets. He started by teaching community education classes, then realized fishing in the lake would be more meaningful and fun. And getting whole families involved would be even better. So the Fishing Klinic for Kids was born.
This year marked the 14th annual event in Sturges Park on Buffalo Lake. The town of Buffalo, Minnesota overlooks the lake, the center of many activities. The Fishing Klinic is the largest event of its kind in Minnesota. I have volunteered the past two years and am amazed how much there is to do and what a draw it is for people of all ages.
There are a number of sponsors, and the event is free of charge. We have over 1,000 kids, plus their parents and grandparents who attend each year. I helped coordinate the registration booth where the kids pick up a card with a list of vendors. After they visit eight booths they can go fishing. Last year we gave each of them a tackle box. This year they got a backpack and a flashlight. In addition to the nice gifts, they are about 1,000 other prizes they can win.
Some of the things to do are: take a pontoon ride, learn to caste, have a pony ride, watch a dog training demonstration, explore a fire truck and a police car, watch someone hand-tie fishing flies, see a demonstration from the Minnesota Raptor Center, listen to professional musicians, watch karate and dance demonstrations, get your face painted, eat a variety of vendor foods, watch minnows race, participate in a casting competition, take lessons from fishing professionals, learn ethical sportsmanship, and much more.
I have truly enjoyed being part of this rewarding event. For more information about it and the sponsors, go to: www.fishingklinicforkids.com. Fishing is understandably a popular sport in Minnesota–we have a few lakes and rivers. Fishing is one activity, but are any number of wholesome activities to engage children in from a young age. What are some things that are popular in your area? I’d love to hear about them.
Christine Husom is the Second Wind Publishing author of the Winnebago County Mystery Thriller Series; Murder in Winnebago County, Buried in Wolf Lake, and An Altar by the River.