For 18 kids from across York region, it was a chance to escape from the city life and experience nature first hand. For a group of 13 OCOA members, it was chance to give back to the community and teach kids how to fish.
For the 7th year, the OCOA organized the Kids and Wardens Fishing Adventure, which sees youth from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada sent on an all-expenses paid trip to a wilderness camp, where they spend 4 days fishing, exploring, learning – and just being kids. This year from August 24 – 27, the kids were hosted at the Elbow Lake Environmental Education Centre north of Kingston, which was provided free of charge by Queen’s University and the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC).
Greyhound Canada and the Ontario Public Service Union (OPSEU) Local 310 in Newmarket provided free round trip transportation. While at the camp, Linda Bates of A Phone Call Away Personal Services, supported by generous donations from Resource Integrated Ltd. and The Orillia Fish and Game Conservation Club, ensured that the kids had all the hearty camp food needed to keep their energy levels up as they tried to catch the big one.
“My parents say we don’t have enough money to go on these trips”, said one kid – but the following sponsors ensured that not only could the kids go on the trip, they returned home with enough free fishing and camping equipment to create their own adventures closer to home:
OPSEU Region 6 and Locals 224, 232, 310,313, 319, 362, 434, 447, Safari Club International, Bass Pro Shops, SAIL, McDonald’s Restaurant in Kingston, Guardian Windows and Doors – Sudbury, Fishergirl Inc., Wal-Mart Kingston, David Chung, X-Zone Lures, Culligan Water – Kingston, Atkinson Home Building Centres, Asselstine Hardware, Trousdale Home Hardware, The Watson Family, Don Bates, Doug and Karen Young, Sand Hill Farm Produce, Clarence Young, Loblaws – Kingston, Reids Foodland – Verona, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters and the Ministry of Natural Resources Enforcement Branch.
This year’s event was held in honour of Kirk Silver, an active OCOA member who passed away suddenly in April of this year. At his family’s request, donations from his memorial service were used to help fund the event.
“It was an honour to recognize Kirk in this way”, says OCOA President Joe McCambridge, who helped organize and participated as a fishing guide on the trip. “Supporting and promoting children’s education with regard to Ontario’s natural resources is one of the objectives of the OCOA, and a part of our mandate that Kirk strongly supported.”
While at the camp – and in between spectacular catch and release bass fishing trips – the kids were taught canoeing skills, learned about Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) forest fire fighting, went on a nature hike guided by NCC staff, and got to see MNR’s canine units in action.
“Putting smiles on kids’ faces is what this trip is all about”, adds McCambridge, “And our members are always willing to contribute their time to make this trip such a success.”
For more information on the OCOA and our activities, visit www.ocoa.ca – or contact your local Conservation Officer.
For more information contact:
Ontario Conservation Officers Association