For the tenth year some of us arrived at The Eagle a bit tired this morning, eventually gathering to reminisce the recent kids fishing clinic. One of this year's best fishing clinic memories was watching legally-blind Ada Wahl touch a fish for the first time. Though often sore and sun-burned we all agree its an event more than worth the pain.
Saturday we had about 325 kids come through the clinic thats part of the Great Plains Nature Centers annual Walk With Wildlife. Many were city kids whod never before wet a line. A lot of children were brought by single parents or grandparents.
A high majority caught fish. As well as with a Wichita Eagle backpack that held candy,some fishing tackle and information most of the kids left smiling.
Id estimate weve hosted around 4,000 kids at the fishing clinic at Chisholm Creek Park through the years. Weve certainly had some amazingly good help.
The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks has long been an instrumental partner. Local fisheries biologist Jessica Mounts, and before her Ken McCloskey, had the pond loaded with fish, all of the equipment furnished and readied with plenty of staff to see things went smoothly.
Its a serious commitment of time, equipment and money.
I dont think the Flatland Fly Fishers Club spends much money to help with the event but they supply time thats invaluable. Annually Id guess about ten members come for all or part of the day.
Rather than going where they can personally catch a lot of fish theyre giving up half a weekend to help children simply catch a fish. Seeing a few hundred such smiles certainly makes the annual Wichita Eagle Kids Fishing Clinic worth the trouble. In the nine years theyve helped Ive never seen a member lose patience with a child or a parent. Theyve gone above and beyond so many times for a child who is struggling to catch their first fish.
To Jessica and her staff, the Flatland folks and Wichita Eagle volunteers I once again say Thanks!
Its a great event but you obviously already know that or you wouldnt be doing so much year after year.
Im already looking forward to next year.