clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

COMMUNITY MAKES KIDS' DAY POSSIBLE

A day of fishing. Simple enough . . . Rod, reel, a little line, a hook and a worm. Hop in the car, drive for, oh, an hour, then step shoreside and cast.

Except. What if there is no rod and reel, and no way to get to where the fish are. Then what?Simple. Bring the fish to the kids. That's what Key Bank did Saturday. It put a bunch of trout within rod's length of more than 800 young fishermen.

But that's not the whole story.

According to organizers, this was a textbook case of community involvement in what everyone agreed was a worthwhile project.

Starting, of course, with the bank. The idea of offering a fishing opportunity to kids, some for the very first time, deserved support, said Lynn Barney, a senior vice president.

Live, catchable fish don't come cheaply. Not the kind that kids can catch and keep, and that ultimately end up in the frying pan. Not the kind of fish that look like trophies when held by a fishermen knee-high to an adult.

Key Bank provided the funding to put catchable fish in the Fairmont Park pond - 2,000 rainbow trout. Dave Freed sweetened the pot to add a little extra size to the fish and Neal Barker, of Cold Springs Trout Farms of Ogden, consented to give more fish for the money.

But that, said Byron Gunderson of Angler's Inn, one of the event organizers, was only the beginning.

This very idea, said Salt Lake Mayor Deedee Corradini, fit into her plan to help kids "perfectly." Without her support it may have ended right here, Gunderson said.

But . . .

Michael Andrews, director of youth relations for the city, got involved. Among many things, he saw to it that tickets for the event got into the hands of many who might never otherwise have had the opportunity to fish.

Wayne Oberg, sports supervisor for the city, saw to it that park facilities could accommodate and service fishermen.

Enter the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. Phil Douglass of the DWR put together a Pathways to Fishing program. Five officers - Douglass, Randy Radant, Bob Hosenyager, Ray Remund and Jeff Richards - gave their Saturday to teach the kids about fishing and fish.

Cal Johnson of Utah Barricade, supplied equipment at no charge to help with traffic control.

Then more people stepped in to help, said Gunderson . . . "It wouldn't have been possible without the volunteers."

Salt Lake County Fish and Game, Utah Bass Federation and the Stonefly Society put more than 20 experts around the pond over the course of the day to help bait hooks, teach casting, untangle line, fix reels, talk about fishing and unhook catches.

They survived, says George Sommer, who helped organize the group, bare hooks, anxious fishermen, beginning casts and long hours, with the only casualties being a few scrapes and cuts.

And . . .

"What we wanted was to make this a fun experience for the kids," continued Gunderson. "After fishing, we wanted to give them something special."

So:

- Smith's donated 1,500 hot dogs and buns.

- Gastronomy donated the expertise, the equipment and the chefs to cook and serve gourmet hot dogs, complete with catsup, mustard and relish.

- Coca-Cola donated the dispenser, cups and more than enough Coke, Sprite or orange for the thirsty anglers.

- Myron Walker of Country Crisp donated bags of chips for each and every one.

- And Domino's donated pizza for the volunteers.

Each fishermen got a free after-fishing meal.

And then:

"We contacted several of the fishing manufacturers and asked for prizes," said Gunderson. "We were overwhelmed by the response. We had more than $3,500 in prizes, ranging from sleeping bags to rods and reels to tackle."

Also, Hershey Foods donated nearly 1,000 candy bars and FRP Marketing gave 1,000 small fruit drinks.

Mary Joines of Key Bank brought down a bunch more volunteers from the bank, who along with some from the fishing groups, helped the kids cast at fish targets. Any cast was worth a candy bar and small drink, and the more accurate casts won the bags, rods and reels.

A lot of people donated valuable time, equipment and supplies to make the event a success. Gunderson said not one person or company contacted said no.

It was, indeed, a day of fishing for kids. Simple enough . . . rod, reel, a little line, a hook and a worm, a pond full of fish and lots of community support.