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2007 ISA Youth Program Wrap-Up

Mike Clifford

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Northern Illinois Fishing and Hunting Days traditionally concludes the ISA Youth Program and Kids Casting for the year, though there are sure to be opportunities that will come along to further mentor and educate our youth to the ways of fishing and sportsmanship.

I feel at this point that I've left everything I have out on the field with this and need to complete the remainder of our conservation agenda and other matters the rest of the year.

We'll get right back to this program with a fresh start in 2008, I can assure you of that.


What this means is that it doesn't end just because we have no official events on the calendar at the moment. We carry our beliefs and traditions with us each each and every time we step outside, regardless.

It is who we are and what we are about.

The very fabric of what makes an ISA member.


Its hard for me to put into words what an amazing year it has been so far.

The first "official" Kids Casting event took place back on July 1 at Monee Reservoir for our Annual Kids Fishing Day, and it already seems like it was eons ago.


With the Military Kids event sandwiched in between all the others this year, the ISA turned a corner by helping to organize and manage an unprecedented accomplishment for our state and children of military families. The pride and dignity displayed by all involved tells me that nobody who was present will ever forget what took place that day at Herrick Lake and how important it was for those kids.


Our usual appearance at the Illinois State Fair was yet another heartfelt reminder that our dedication to promoting our sport to kids knows no boundaries and has no limits.

From Du Page County to Will County, all the way to Springfield and occasionally in between.....we put many smiles on the faces of many kids this year no matter where they call home in Illinois.

More to the point, we created lasting memories by putting a rod and reel into the hands of over 1,000 youth in 2007 and the year is far from over.


Let me be the first to thank each and every person that gave of their time and worked so hard to create something so special for all these kids.

Many more undoubtedly wished they could have been there, but made it possible nonetheless by continuing to support the ISA through their membership renewals, contributions and hard work to keep the organization thriving.


When the time comes next year for us to reach out and ask for your help, please remember what we've done here and consider that it is a never-ending quest that gets bigger and better with each and every new year.

If you get the choice to sit it out or dance....I hope you dance.


From the bottom of my heart-



"I hope you never lose your sense of wonder."


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Here is our 2007 list of crew members in this program.

(If I missed anyone, please send me a PM to let me know.)


My goal is to double this number in 2008.

Who's up for it?


Alan Kwik

Bill Chase

Chris Barnes

Craig Holderness

Dan Basore

Don Rego

Ed Buric

Ed Loch

Jim Jozwiak

Jim Kast

Jim Mullany

John Loebach

Jude Torre

Larry Piet

Marc Miller

Matt Kunath

Mike Clifford

Mitchell Schwarz

Pat Hirschtick

Rich McElligott

Steve Jordan

Steve Spizewski

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It needs to be pointed out that Rich helped us tremendously on the 2 biggest events as crew leader. This is what I mean by people stepping up.

Joz got more involved with the Kids Casting this year, and absolutely worked his butt off.

I could go on, but that is what the list above is about- people coming out to help people.

Lots of the same faces every year, with a few new ones each time.

Next year, we're going to see many new volunteers.

You honestly haven't lived until you've seen the looks on the faces of these kids, especially where prizes are involved.


As I look through the many photos, it occurs to me how many parents we managed to get involved in working with their children.

Sometimes I'll ask the volunteers to step back if the parent appears to know something about fishing and casting.

Bringing families together is a huge part of what we're trying to do.

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