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Second Annual Kids and Wardens Fishing Adventure a Huge Success

Posted on July 28, 2008.

Once again the Ontario Conservation Officers Association (OCOA) has provided the trip of a lifetime to 20 southern Ontario youth. From July 15 to 19, 2008, Horwood Lake Lodge (, located approximately 100 km west of Timmins, played host to the kids from The Boys and Girls Club of London (

The owners of Horwood Lake Lodge went above and beyond the call, providing free use of the lodge and cabins, including the boats, motors, and fuel. The lodge staff ensured that there was no shortage of delicious “kid friendly” food to satisfy appetites fuelled by long days in the great outdoors.

The OCOA would like to thank the following private and corporate sponsors, whose generosity ensured that each child received all of the gear needed for the trip, which included personal supplies, fishing equipment, and sleeping bags – and it was all theirs to keep so that they could have their own adventures when they got home.

  • Ontario Public Service Employees Union
  • Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
  • Bass Pro Shops
  • Ontario Out of Doors Magazine
  • Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters
  • WalMart, London
  • WalMart, North Bay
  • McDonald’s Restaurant, Chelmsford
  • Big Bear Lodge, Horwood Lake
  • Johnson Outdoors Canada
  • Dents Camera Centre, North Bay
  • Badder Bus Service Ltd., Thamesville
  • Dr. Fuzy, Corbeil
  • Tim Neidenbach & Barbi Baker
  • Shoppers Drug Mart, London

Throughout the week the kids were exposed to many facets of outdoor life in the north, including a wilderness survival presentation from an Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) Conservation Officer, a fire safety demonstration from an MNR forest fire crew complete with Smokey the Bear, an appearance by MNR canine units, and canoeing lessons provided by Missinaibi Headwaters, a local outfitter.

In addition to organizing the trip, OCOA members were at the camp all week volunteering their time to teach the kids about responsible use of the great outdoors, which of course included how to catch fish and have fun doing it! Every child present was able to catch walleye. Just enough fish were kept for a fabulous fish fry on the last night, the rest were released for others to enjoy.

Following the fish fry, everyone enjoyed a huge bonfire, complete with “smores” – the perfect end to an amazing experience that neither the kids nor the adults will soon forget.

“Providing opportunities like this to our youth is one of the mandates of the OCOA”, said President Dan VanExan. “By exposing these young people to the wonders of our outdoors, we hope to instill a sense of ownership of and responsibility for natural resources that will carry on into their adult lives.”

For more information contact:

Dan VanExan
Ontario Conservation Officers Association
(613) 478-6132


OCOA Takes Ottawa Kids on Northern Ontario Fishing Adventure

Posted on July 22, 2007.

Foleyet, Ontario – Are you looking for the recipe for the perfect fish fry? Mix 20 kids from the city, add 12 dedicated Ontario Conservation Officer Association (OCOA) members from across Ontario. Season them with generous donations from private and corporate sponsors. Mix well for 5 days at a first class northern Ontario fishing lodge. This is guaranteed to produce memories that will last a lifetime.

The Ontario Conservation Officer’s Association (OCOA), Ottawa Boys and Girls Club and Horwood Lake Lodge teamed together to provide a once in a lifetime northern fishing adventure for 20 inner city youth from Ottawa. This type of activity, where our youth are educated about the proper use and respect of our natural resources, is one of the goals of the OCOA.” said President, Dan VanExan.

From July 17 to 21, 2007, girls and boys from the Ottawa Boys and Girls club experienced the adventure of a lifetime, fishing, swimming and enjoying great, northern hospitality provided by Horwood Lake Lodge hosts Denis Manning and Dale Latner and 12 members of the OCOA, most of who were also Conservation Officers.

For many of these kids this was the first opportunity that they have had to ride in a boat, bait a hook, see moose, bear, bald eagles, loons, eat fresh fish and gaze at stars, unobstructed by city lights. Every child caught fish! Most of the kids had never baited a hook, sat in a boat or met a Conservation Officer before. During the five days they were taught survival skills, canoeing and given demonstrations on the MNR (Ministry of Natural Resources) Canine program. According to Tim Rochette, one of the OCOA organizers, “We created memories that will last a lifetime and believe me it won’t be just the kids that have these memories”.

With the generous support of sponsors: Bass Pro Shops, Johnson Outdoors Canada, McDonalds (North Bay), Wal-Mart (North Bay), OPSEU (Ontario Public Service Employees Union), Big Bear Camp, Ottawa Rotary Club, Ontario Out of Doors, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, MNR Enforcement Branch and private sponsors Donna Covey & Dr. Fuzy, Corbeil,ON, these kids were provided with all of the gear they needed to camp, fish and experience natural resources and Ontario’s northland in all its glory.

As the bus left the tired, smiling kids off in Ottawa these boys and girls were leaving with rods, reels and tackle, sleeping bags, rain suits, hats and memories for a lifetime.

For more information contact:

Dan VanExan
Ontario Conservation Officers Association
(613) 478-6132