Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Take Kids Fishing Day Inspires the Next Generation of Anglers

The Union Sportsmen's Alliance (USA) hosted free, public Take Kids Fishing Day events in four Kentucky locations on Saturday, May 18.

Over 380 youths from various communities and backgrounds learned about the importance of fishing and conservation. Waverly Park Lake in Louisville, Jacobson Park in Lexington, Lake Montgomery at Bob Noble Park in Paducah, and Earlington City Park in Earlington all welcomed participants.

Union volunteers were on hand to provide kids and their parents with instruction and assistance, and all registered youths received a free fishing rod and reel. These events are part of a series of free, community-based youth outreach events organized under USA's flagship conservation program, Work Boots on the Ground.

Whether it was taking in a breath of fresh air with kids by the pond or interacting with families, project leader Mark Adams, a member of Sheet Metal Workers Local 110 since 1978, remembers several stories about the day.

“For me, one of the big takeaways was we had a single mom show up with two kids, a little boy and a little girl, and I got to teach her and her kids about worms and how to put them on a hook,” Adams said. “While her and her daughter did that, her son caught a fish. I happened to be standing around the pond at that time and helped to get the fish in and she just thanked me so much. That little boy was excited.”

Union events “bring back to life” the community roots of coal mining in locations like Earlington, according to the Earlington project leader and the founder of Hopkins County Sportsmen and Sportswomen Club Loman Scarbrough.

The legacy, feel for the outdoors and an enjoyment in teaching youth are what make Take Kids Fishing Day special for volunteers like Scarbrough.

“A passion of mine is to take my knowledge of the outdoors and pass it on to the next generation,” Scarbrough said. “The youth are our future. That’s what the Hopkins County Sportsmen and Sportswomen Club is all about—promoting the next generation of wildlife conservation education.”

Scarbrough enjoyed watching the development of participants during Earlington’s second-annual Take Kids Fishing Day.

“Last year, I worked with a lady who brought her grandkids. They had never fished before and they were back this year. Now that they have their own fishing equipment and know what they are doing, they were able to go out multiple times last year and they’ll continue to do the same this year. Those types of stories really make you feel good.”

Adams is grateful for this experience every year.

“In the last four years that I’ve gotten to do this, I want to generally thank the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance,” he said. “They give us fishing poles without even asking the question. I appreciate what they do and until I don’t have another breath in this life, I will be at this event every year taking care of these youngins in these different areas of the state of Kentucky.”

For more information, visit www.unionsportsmen.org or connect on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.