By Greg Kucharewski
(from Jersey Coast Anglers Association April 1999 Newsletter)HOW TO START A FISHING CLUB AT YOUR SCHOOL
Do your kids spend the school holidays saying things like "I'm bored!" or "what can we do now?" Well then, a Student Fishing Club is the answer. Its easy to start a fishing club at your local school. Many schools throughout New Jersey are promoting outdoor activities such as, saltwater and freshwater fishing.
The first thing to do is research club activities in your school. If your school does not have a fishing club talk to school officials and request assistance in forming a new club. Most schools have members on their Faculty or PTA/PTO parents that have some knowledge of fishing and would volunteer time to get your schools fishing club up and running.
Fishing is a great outlet for students and there is plenty to learn. Students can learn about the environment, state laws, regulations, water safety, and angling techniques. The best thing about fishing is that its a non-competitive sport. Students can have fun and relax and it helps them enjoy school and promotes higher self-esteem. Fishing clubs also give students a chance to belong. Youngsters that are not into competitive sports or artistically gifted can participate in fishing programs with little or no difficulty. This is an opportunity for some students who dont fit into any other type of activities to really get involved. Its a way of getting the students together as a group and teaches them how to look after each other and be kind to one another.
I remember a group of young girls that participated in a local " Hooked On Fishing Not On Drugs" program for a fifth grade fishing outing. They found the idea of a school-fishing club intriguing. One young lady stated "I joined the school fishing club because I have fun learning about fishing and going to the ocean to fish with other club members".
Many students join school fishing clubs because they learn about how to target fish that are local to their community and they can share fishing equipment.
Start up expenses for a school fishing club are low because students can use donated equipment or hold a fund raiser to support their clubs activities. Fund Raising Tip: Ask your home economics teacher for a cookie cutter in the shape of a fish. If you have trouble locating a fish cookie cutter at your school ask classmates if they have one at home. You can also purchase a fish cookie cutter at a local appliance store for less than $2.00. Heres the fastest way to raise funds for your schools fishing club. Cookie Sale! Advertise the date and time of your Fish Cookie Sale on the walls of your school the week before you place the Fish Cookies on sale. Check with the your schools Main Office and remember to have your Fish Cookie Sale approved. Ask the art teacher for some advice about posters and dont forget to have a theme (e.g. KIDZ HOOKED ON FISHING). Three Fish Cookies for $1.00 is a reasonable price, or you can press out peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with the cookie cutter and sell them two for $1.00. You will be surprised how soon the profits add up. Use the start up funds to purchase fishing magazines/books, terminal tackle and equipment everyone in your fishing club can share.
The Jersey Coast Anglers Associations, Youth Education Committee is asking students to become involved in protecting our aquatic resources. If you would like information about the "HOOKED ON FISHING NOT ON DRUGS" program and support material phone: 732-785-9278. If you are starting a fishing club at your school and need information about protecting our marine resources, please write to the JCAA Youth Education Committee for an informational packet.
BE SAFE-HAVE FUN-ENJOY FISHING
Greg Kucharewski, a member of the Shore Surf Club, is the J.C.A.A. Youth Education Director. For information on aquatic youth education material write to: J.C.A.A. Youth Education Committee, 1201 Rt. 37 East, Suite 9, Toms River, NJ 08753 or phone the J.C.A.A. office at 908/506-6565 voice mail box #1