“This is the greatest trip I’ve ever been on!” and “I think this is the best day I’ve ever had!”. It is comments like these from big city kids who have just experienced the wonders of the great outdoors that made the third annual Kids and Wardens Fishing Adventure a resounding success.
From July 21 to 24, nineteen members of the Boys and Girls Club of Hamilton had the chance to experience a trip to a northern Ontario fishing lodge – and it was all free! Thanks to the amazing generosity of Horwood Lake Lodge owner Joe Richter – who donated the use of lodge, cabins, boats and motors – these youngsters spent their days fishing for walleye and their evenings telling fish stories around the campfire.
In between fishing trips, they were taught wilderness survival skills, tried their hand at forest fire fighting (or at least had a great water fight!) with a Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) fire crew, saw a demonstration by an MNR canine unit, and learned canoeing skills from Missinaibi Headwaters Outfitters.
The highlight of the trip for many was simply enjoying the great outdoors by exploring islands and waterfalls, picking blueberries, and yes catching fish for a fish fry – all the while being guided by OCOA members, including both active and retired officers.
“The officers were amazed by these youngsters”, says OCOA President Dan VanExan. “Many of them began the week shy and overwhelmed by the whole event, and by Friday were best friends with the officers they met.”
The OCOA would like to thank the following sponsors, whose support ensured that this was indeed the trip of a lifetime, and that each child returned home with all the outdoor gear they used on the trip – fishing rods and reels, tackle boxes full of tackle, sleeping bags, and rain suits.
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 – North Bay, McDonald’s Restaurant – Chelmsford, Big Bear Lodge – Horwood Lake, Johnson Outdoors Canada, Dents Camera Centre – North Bay, Dr. Fuzy – Corbeil, Tim Neidenbach & Barbi Baker, Canadian Tire- St. Thomas, First Student Canada (Business) – Hamilton, Graphix Works – St. Catherines, Norcam Surveillance Products – Matheson.
“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 instil a sense of ownership of and responsibility for natural resources that will carry on into their adult lives.”
For more information contact:
Ontario Conservation Officers Association