To The Editor:
We just wrapped up the 4H and FishCap summer camp, and we would say that it was a huge success.
The program was developed in hopes to begin a lifelong involvement between the students in St. Lawrence County and the amazing outdoor opportunities around them. The kids had a great time and we have never seen more smiles and excitement over anything before. There were so many amazing volunteers and contributions that we can happily say, support for the program was coming in from all angles.
We were fortunate to receive a Walmart grant that covered the cost of a fishing pole for every student that they were able to take home at the close of the program. We also had tackle donated from the Hilltop Hunting Club owned by Joe Russell. He donated a fishing lure to each student that we were able to put into their tackle boxes donated from Hosmers Marina, owned by Bill Hosmer, who also donated live minnows for our fishing trip. Canton Price Chopper donated money that enabled us to buy hotdogs and rolls to have a barbecue with the students, along with Stewarts, who generously donated hotdogs and rolls.
We greatly appreciate all of the donations and support from the community. They have made this camp a wonderful experience for the kids.
We also cant thank FishCap enough for all of their wonderful support, along with Don Meissner, Mike Seymour, and Hank Bouchard, who brought their cherished years of experience and talents for working with youth and who have all truly made this camp a wonderful experience for the kids. We ran the camp for three weeks each week, focusing with a new set of students. In class, hands-on lessons and experiences were scheduled for the first three days with each set of students, with the first day consisting of casting activities and a special presentation from James Moore, who donated his time and brought his bass boat. James allowed the students to climb through his boat and explore the different compartments as he explained the importance of boater safety and the advantages of using a bass boat. James also set up a casting activity for the student to teach them the importance of a proper cast.
We also had presentations from Don Meissner, Hank Bouchard, and Mike Seymour on learning to fish, the beginner/basics of fishing and of course some classic fishing stories from their experiences on the water as well as some added excerpts from the students own memories of fishing.
During the second day, Nicki Hamilton-Honey presented on fish identification, angler responsibilities and the water cycle. Rust Eddy also gave a hands-on presentation on fly fishing, and the kids had the opportunity to learn to properly cast a fly fishing rod and were able to put these skills into use on our fishing trip.
On the third day, state Department of Environmental Conservation officers Bret Canary and Troy Basford came and taught the kids the importance of following the rules and regulations of fishing. The students learned so much from these presentations. We had one student state on our fishing trip We cant clean the fish right here on the edge of the water; we have to be 100 yards off of the shoreline. This statement was proof that the students were applying the lessons that they were being taught. The students were also taught how to properly set up their fishing poles and how to tie a fishermens knot taught by Hank Bouchard. Mr. Bouchard also taught the students how to make a thrift tackle box and walked them through some tackle boxes of his own full of tackle obtained through his many years owning his own bait and tackle shop.
On the fourth day we took the kids fishing on a man-made pond in Canton that is owned by William Locey. William generously donated his time along with his property to make this experience one to remember. He even tagged a fish in his pond for the kids to catch, and it was caught in the first 30 minutes of the first week of fishing by Cody Delorme from Hermon-DeKalb. This 15-pound bass, known as Hank, was then released back into the pond to be caught by other students. On the fourth day of fish camp the kids all said to me This was a great experience, and We all learned so much and Can we do this next year?
Overall, this fish camp was very successful and we are grateful for all of the donations and the time and knowledge that were donated from our volunteers. Without them this camp wouldnt have been as successful as it was.
Cornell Cooperative Extension
of St. Lawrence County