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The day's activities behind the scenes started one year ago, just days after the First Annual Military Kids Day.

The professionalism that goes into planning 4 hours of jam-packed outdoors fun for these kids shows from the minute one steps on the grounds.

Like clockwork, dozens of volunteers in yellow shirts, ISA shirts and plain old t-shirts descend upon these grounds right after sun-up and go over every detail briefly, and then "work" begins in earnest.

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What's really amazing is that I didn't hear a single person call it "work" the entire day.

Every volunteer I spoke with thanked US for inviting them to be a part of it all.

Anything that anyone needed was standing a few feet away, among the swarm of volunteers treating every kid like royalty.

I have attended and hosted many kids fishing days, and nothing compares to this in my experiences.

 

The small things- from the personalized nametag for every person that stepped on the grounds (kids and volunteers alike), to the "earth-friendly" goodie bags, lunch that was fast, efficient and damn good to boot....and all the little things that personalized the day for every participant- those are the result of so many dedicated individuals. Too many to count.

 

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The stories I heard from people coming from various stations were life stories unfolding before my eyes.

One gentleman related that of his 4 kids, 3 of them had never caught a fish before today, and proceeded to show me photos on his camera of a couple huge catfish!

His other daughter had fished quite a bit before and caught none.

We had a good laugh about it, and he just shook his head in amazement that we do so much for these kids and thanked us from his heart.

 

On 3 separate occasions today, I was approached by people telling me that the ISA group of volunteers is the most polite, patient, respectful and accommodating group they have ever seen. The pride this group exhibited was exemplary, without question.

 

All of this happens because of all of you.

Look inside yourselves and know you did a good thing for a great many people today.

A heartfelt thanks goes out to each and every one of you.

 

Of course, the video is on the way.

 

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(The long path I've taken to this place is hard to explain, but the emotion is very real on this day. I'm wearing sunglasses in that photo for a reason.)

My impromptu speech was not planned as it came at the last second, but it came from the heart. Felt the need to finish with the following...

"Nothing but a child could wash these tears away

Or guide a weary world into the light of day

And nothing but a child could help erase these miles

So once again we all can be children for awhile "

 

Indeed, if only for a while.

 

We'll be mentoring again next weekend at the State Fair in the Lt. Governor's tent.

The education doesn't end with the seasons, it just keeps rolling.

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Many thanks go out to all the ISA volunteers that helped out with this event! I feel thankful and proud to have been a small part of it. The smiles on those kids will be with me for a long time....

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Guest rich mc

it was an enjoyable day. I was glad to meet some new ISA members. its funny that we were there for the kids and i learned alot about the kankakee from small talk during breakfast and lunch. one girl at the felt fish section was very shy, but once she started catching fish she opened up. that moment was priceless rich

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Trout Unlimited is also active in introducing kids to fishing and flyfishing in particular.Once a month from May thru Sept.they gather a group of kids from various boy scout troops thruout the area at the St Charles Sportsmans Club in Elburn for a daylong flyfishing seminar where they learn about flyfishing equipment,knot tying, fly tying and casting.They also flyfish at the stocked pond and upon catching at least 2 fish earn a scout flyfishing merit badge.I've volunteered the past 2 years and was at the last one which was also on Aug.9.While for the most part it's an enjoyable experience for the kids there is a degree of frustration they have to deal with since flyfishing/flycasting is more difficult than spinfishing.

T/U also sponsors a weekend flyfishing outting in Michigan and a weeklong outting on a spring creek in Iowa for teenage scouts.The hope of course is that a love of fishing/flyfishing will be sewn in at least some of the kids for the enhancement of the sport and protection of the resource in the future.

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Finally got around to getting a video put together on this remarkable achievement.

Thanks again to everyone that goes the extra mile to promote and share our sport with the next generation of conservationists.

 

Military Kids Fishing Day 2008 - Watch the best video clips here

 

 

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