Yesterday was an incredible day as 225-250 kids, including big and small ones, came together for a Floppers Fishin’ Academy at the Richardson Texas Church of the Nazarene.
The event started off with a gospel message from Leland Duyck who is an associate pastor of the church. Leland provided a impactful message about Christ and opened the door for the gospel.
From there, I provided a powerful visual presentation for the kids including some big catches that I have caught just this year. We then shared some basic tips in catching bass, bluegill and catfish. We also provided a personal development message that spoke about spiritual matters (going to church and by following Jesus you can become a fisher of men!), family (minding your parents), health (eating and drinking healthfully) and doing good in school (getting good grades so you can fish!). We also talked about the positive benefits of fishin such as having fun, getting along with others and having something to do instead of playing Nintendo games and pounding away on a keyboard or watching TV. In fact, many kids shared with the audience some of their personal stories of catching some "HUGE" fish!
The kids were then broke out into three separate groups: casting, knot tying and photos. In each station the kids were able to cast, they learned how to tie knots and they all had their photos taken with various fishing pro’s. Various displays with all types of fishin’ equipment were shown and the kids had much to touch, feel and experience.
The kids were treated to refreshments by the church and each child received a tackle pack that included various treats and fishin tackle.
Personally, it was a very moving experience to see so many kids having fun, laughing and learning. Watching the pros working with the kids was wonderful and each staffer contributed to the kids in speaking with them, teaching and providing a memorable experience. It is quite evident that we touched these kids in a positive way and hopefully have set them on a pathway of a lifetime of fishing.
I would like to thank the following sponsors who provided time, equipment, door prizes, revenue and treats for the kids: Kick-N-Bass, Bass Pro Shops, Academy Sports, Berkley, Mister Twister/Mepps, The Original Line Keeper, WorldRecordBass.Com, Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits, US Army Corp Of Engineers, The Honey Hole Magazine and the Richardson Church Of The Nazarene. Additionally, special thanks to Leland Duyck who offered two FREE fishin’ trips to his private 14 acre lake just north of Dallas.
Our pro staff fishermen and women who helped out were exceptional and we couldn’t ask for a better group of fishing enthusiasts to help out. Theses "real" heroes are: Ken Revell, Jason Brown Mark Brown, Gene Gradick, Mike Biggs, David Taylor, Bobbie Gayle, John Irwin, Bonita Staples, Ron Staples, Jennifer Halford, Melvin Purcell, Buddy Brown, Tom Kilpatrick, Connie Kilpatrick, Mark Milward, Joe Hangey, and Dave McCreary. Additional help was provided by the Men’s Ministry of the Church Of The Nazarene including audio and visual support and of course providing a wonderful sanctuary for the event.
Now for some future news! The Richardson Church of The Nazarene has asked us back for this same event next year. The date has already been set aside an that is September 6th, 2003. What’s even better is that we will expand this event and add additional sessions by more of the pro staffers and a "reel" session by Tom and Connie Kilpatrick. Additionally, the prostaffers will bring a variety of bass boats including small plastic ones all the way up to the big 22 footers. The kids will be able to touch, feel and sit in the bass boats and get an idea of this fishing equipment along with water safety tips. This event for next year promises to be a hit!
We are very busy right now preparing to upload photos of the entire event for your viewing pleasure and I know many of the parents want to see the photos of their children with the pro staffers. We are creating a photo album of ALL the photos at WorldRecordBass.Com. The event photos will be displayed as well as all the individual photos of the kids. As soon as the photo album is complete, I will advise you via e-mail of where you can access it.
When complete, it will be posted at the following two url’s:
Many parents indicated they were interested in having a Flopper’s Fishin’ Academy for their group and some expressed interest in personal development seminars as well. Just send me an e-mail at [email protected] for more information on these types of seminars.
Yesterday was a wonderful experience. What we did as a group yesterday was the same as skipping rocks at the pond. We have created a positive ripple effect that hopefully will be passed on for years to come. I am blessed to have been a part of it.