Al Lekun has been an angler all his life, and while he wasn't able to spend the all day Friday on Whitewater Lake as part of the fifth Kids, Cops and Canadian Tire Fishing event, he was eager to pass on some of his knowledge to some 40 kids participating.
Lekun said young people love being out on the water, and the program gives them an opportunity to learn, and have fun. They always have a smile on their faces, and once they've got a fish on their line, “it's an amazing experience.”
“We find it's an amazing opportunity to get out and interact with the youth, and to develop positive relationships with some of the kids,” Lekun said, as participants began arriving at the Azilda lake Friday morning. “We feel this is a necessity so the kids can see what kind of role police officers play in their communities, and to develop a level of mutual respect.
“It may only be one day, but that one day could have a big impact on some of these kids, and we find that to be a huge benefit.”
Police were joined by conservation officers with the Ministry of Natural Resources.
The Kids, Cops and Canadian Tire Fishing event is part of a grassroots program to encourage youngsters to enjoy the benefits of recreational fishing. It is sponsored by Fish For Ever - Kids, Cops and Canadian Tire Fishing Days, the Police Association of Ontario, Pro Bait and Tackle on the Kingsway, Ramakko’s, Canada Brokerlink and the Chief’s Youth Initiative Fund.
Bob Izumi, chair of the Fish For Ever Foundation and star of Real Fishing Television, said in a news release there is nothing that puts a smile on a kid’s face faster than catching a fish.
“That’s why I love to create opportunities for children and families to go fishing,” said Izumi. “Fishing is one of the very best ways for parents and other adults to establish productive and healthy relationships with children. Police officers spend their entire careers protecting children. This program is a perfect way for kids to learn that these dedicated men and women care about them as individuals, not as potential young offenders.”
All participants were given a fishing rod to keep, as well as a tackle box filled with a selection of tackle.