ST CROIX FALLS, WI – Since June 2004, kids of all ages have enjoyed fishing in the Neil McKenzie Memorial Youth Fishing Derby on Deer Lake, Polk County, WI. The past year was a most difficult time for each of us while navigating social distancing and keeping everyone safe during the pandemic. We cancelled last year's fishing derby; and, again this year, find ourselves making the same decision out of an abundance of caution. We must continue taking action to keep everyone safe until we can get back to gathering for community events. Common sense is being used to not gather as a group this year but ask that you Keep Kids Fishin' in your own way.Since the derby will not be held this year, families are encouraged to be safe, be well, and take their kids fishing. Whether standing on the shore of a lake or river, finding a public dock or fishing pier, or climbing into a rowboat to be out on the water, do what you can to Keep Kids Fishin’ and tellin' their stories. The many volunteers who guided kids, served food, drove boats/pontoons, and donated to this annual event in the past will be pleased to know that kids are continuing this tradition with their families this year.
The Neil McKenzie Memorial Youth Fishing Derby has provided a free day of learning and fishing on the water for kids since June 2004. Co-sponsored by The Polk County Sportsman’s Club and family and friends of Neil McKenzie, the event has been supported by businesses, donors, volunteers, game wardens, lake-home owners, and the New Lagoon Campground and Condominium Association where the derby has been hosted. This rite of passage to summer has been a hit for all who have an interest in fishing. Some kids have come for their first exposure to fishing and others have come for several years. It’s the kids’ stories told along the way that make it worthwhile.
Whether or not the kids in your life fished the derby in prior years, you are encouraged to do what you can this summer to get kids outdoors to experience nature. Like Neil always was, you will be amazed at the excitement in the kids’ voices as they tell their stories of seeing an eagle high up in a tree or of their holding on tightly to a wiggly worm while baiting their fishing hook and hoping to feel a tug at the end of the line. Listen to the stories of the kids. It will make your spirit soar. Thank you for carrying on this tradition and doing what you can to Keep Kids Fishin’ and tellin’ their stories.
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