It is here the young graduates test their newly acquired skills while competing from fully equipped bass boats with a qualified adult boat captain sitting at the helm. An awards ceremony and community sponsored picnic follows the weigh-in. Do these kids catch fish you may wonder? At last year’s tourney, hundreds of assorted fish were carried to the scales before being released!
For those who have never witnessed this graduation event, it is breathtaking to watch as 65 captains ease their boats from shore with the sole purpose of providing students with a positive, lifelong memory.
They say a person stands tallest when they stoop to help children. It doesn’t take long to realize that those who love the outdoors are also some of our community’s most generous and caring people. This becomes evident as everyone involved with the clinic shares the commitment to provide a positive outdoor experience to our youth, as did the man whose name the clinic honors.
More than 150 volunteers, instructors and boat captains help participants develop an increased sense of self reliance. This special fraternity of men and women anglers provides a helpful atmosphere which allows students to feel comfortable.
Instructors do a masterful job in passing on knowledge and skills that can be cultivated through a lifetime. Its been said many times the clinic teaches kids about life in general and fishing in particular.
Enough cannot be said about the army of volunteers who make the program possible. Because of their sincere dedication to excellence, Kokomo’s Kids Fishing Clinic was recognized by the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame, as one of the top outdoor oriented youth fishing programs in the United States.
Regardless of age, the sport of fishing is one of the few activities that can be enjoyed for a lifetime. It can also provide common ground between adults and children — even at times we feel there is none.
Teaching a child to fish usually provides our environment with a much needed friend in the future. Everyone associated with the Kids Fishing Clinic considers it an investment into our nation’s number one natural resource — kids!
• John Martino is the Tribune’s outdoors columnist. He may be reached by email at email@example.com.