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Kids for Fishing event in Akwesasne lures 53 children

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AKWESASNE - Despite some cloudy weather and some rain showers, 53 children had great time learning about boating safety, fishing, drug prevention, and environmental issues at the Kids for Fishing event held recently at the Jimmy Cooks Campground. .

Also on hand was SUNY Plattsburgh’s fishing team, which competes in the collegiate bass fishing league. Once again the efforts of event organizer, St. Regis Tribal Police Corporal P.J. Burns, provided opportunities for children and adults to get together again to explore the art of fishing.

Organizers and participants alike braved the elements to provide a day of fun and learning for the 53 children who showed up to participate. “Although the weather could have been better, it really didn’t slow us down,” Cpl. Burns said. “I think that only a hurricane would have stopped the program.”

“Kids for Fishing” has evolved into a full-day event and involves the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Police, Akwesasne Mohawk Police and various programs from the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe and Mohawk Council of Akwesasne.

As in the past, Burns brought in professional fishermen to explain the different baits, rods, reels and other fishing equipment needed make this event not only fun, but also informative.

“Another year of success this year means that we’re going to have future success with this program,” said Cpl. Burns at the end of the day. “We’re having positive impact on the kids, and they have a good time. The more we run the program, the more impact we’ll have.”

The day began at 8 a.m. with a presentation by U.S. Border Patrol and Akwesasne Mohawk Police on boating safety. Chelsea Sunday and Karonhiotha of the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe’s Alcohol/Chemical Dependency Prevention Program (A/CDP) did a presentation on drug prevention. The A/CDP specializes in educational prevention and curriculum in Headstart through grade eight. The third presentation was on Environmental Issues with the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe’s Environment Division, which was represented by Tony David, Mary Lafrance and Jay Wilkinson. The presentation focused on invasive species like zebra mussels and gobies being introduced into local waters.

Shimano representatives Paul Shibata and Jack Levert were the next instructors who explained the different types of baits and lures, then showed the kids different casting techniques. The last presentation was given by the SUNY Plattsburgh fishing team, who shared the origins of the fishing team and how they represent the university.

This year marked a return of several professional fishermen to Akwesasne to help with “Kids for Fishing.” Paul Shibata said, “Any time we involve the youth, our future fishermen, Shimano would be glad to give a helping hand to ensure the event is a success.”

Event organizers held a registration earlier in the spring for the participation in this event. After two weeks of registration over 114 children had signed up for the event, and again Burns conducted a random drawing for the 40 youth and 13 spots reserved for children with special needs.

The kids lined up to receive their tackle box and lures, life jacket, rod and reel all from contributions made by event sponsors. Parents and children waited as the pro fishermen launched their bass boats. The kids crowded the shoreline and boarded the boats to begin their afternoon on the river. “This is an awesome event and this is my second year participating,” said professional fisherman Jack Lavert.

The third annual “Kids for Fishing” event was made possible with the support of the following sponsors: the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe Police, the Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service, Cook’s Greenery, Truck Stop #9, Mohawk Racing Parts, McEwen Gas, MCA - Wholistic Health and Wellness, MCA - Community Health, SRMT-Environment – A/CDP Prevention Program, Thompson Marine, MCA-Child Family Services, Twin Leaf Convenience Store, Akwesasne Convenience Store Association, J&J Insurance, Seneca Selects, MCA-Family Wellness Program, Bulla-n-Joes Tent Rentals, Pepsi-Cola, Coca-Cola, Divalissa’s Treats, the Akwesasne Community Partnership Fund, CKON-97.3 FM, G-Loomis, Venom Lures, Lakefork Trophy Lures, and Shimano.

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