The check-in process is always exciting as fishing boat drivers and fisher-kids try to get matched up and families with lots of siblings fishing try to get matched up with assigned pontoons. According to Mom's (Joyce McKenzie's) watch, all participants were off shore and on the lake fishing by 9:07 a.m.! Whew!
Lunch time gave everyone time to weigh catches, tell fish tales from the morning, and, of course, enjoy a tasty lunch -- and then it was back to more fishing!
Mid-afternoon the boats landed again with fisher-kids rushing to the scale to weigh-in their biggest fishes. Two decorated cakes -- one white and one marble -- were quickly eaten up by everyone after in celebration of this 10th Annual Neil McKenzie Youth Fishing Derby. Fishing makes a person hungry!
Finally, the time came for special recognitions, door prizes, and TROPHIES celebrating the luckiest of the fisher-kids. This youth event is open to kids through age 17 -- and after they "fish out" are welcome to come back the following years to be guides or volunteer in many other ways!
I thought I would start out the program by seeing who had fished the derby for 1, 2, 3, 4, years, etc. on up to 10 times. In the front row was a little cutie with blonde curls who declared, "I've fished TEN years!" I asked, "How old are you?" Her reply as she held up four fingers... "I'm four!!" Ya gotta love it!! :)
We celebrated fishermen on boats from age 6 mos. to 91 years. Fishing is TRULY a life-long activity to be enjoyed by all. Of note, each of these individuals are girls! :) Fishing is for everyone!
Lots of thank you's, lots of expressions of appreciation, lots of smiles, and "See Ya Next Year"s. What a wonderful, wonderful day. And then... as quickly as it was set up by numerous volunteers, the staging area was tore down and put away with several trucks and trailers hauling away tents, trailers, and picnic tables for another year.
ALL participants are to be commended for respecting the private property on which this event is staged. To illustrate the level of respect and the use of recycling and garbage bins on the grounds, I can tell you that when I scoured the property after everyone had gone, I picked up one potato chip and one cigarette butt. Those two items were the ONLY evidence of a day's event on site. And, when you think of it... the kids don't smoke!
The learning, the laughs, the camaraderie, and caring are what keep this event positive for everyone each year. THANK YOU to all who understand the mission of the day -- to KEEP KIDS FISHIN' and realizing that "outdoors" is the place to play!
Joyce and Kelly