In spite of the cool rainy weather, some 25 youngsters enjoyed the Youth Outreach Fishing Derby that took place at Reynolds Pond in Cheshire last Saturday The Berkshire County League of Sportsmen (BCLS) stocked the pond, ensured that each kid got a new fishing outfit, bait and a tasty lunch. The Cheshire Rod & Gun Club actually ran the event with food preparation help from the Adams Outdoor for Youth (AOFY). Sportsmen from throughout the Berkshires pitched in to ensure that each kid had a mentor who helped with any fishing problems, provided bags in which to place their fish and provided fish cleaning services so that they could take the fish with them to eat. Every kid (boys and girls) caught fish. The BCLS Youth Outreach derby is an annual event which tries to get kids interested in fishing and enjoying the outdoors. This year kids from the Key Program and the C.O.T.Y. (church outreach to youth ) Center were chosen to participate. The Key Program is a premier human services program for adolescents. COTY is based in North Adams and has been serving at-risk kids for 25 plus years. These kids are dealing with unfortunate issues at home or school and are in need of home based services.
According to Berkshire County Chief Probation Officer Bill Gale and Probation Officer Alex Daugherty, who brought them there in vans, these are good kids that need a break and some guidance.
About half of the COTY kids learned to fish just last year with the BCLS or the AOFY “ said Daugherty, “ They were eager to get back out there and experience the thrill of catching fish again. A trio of sisters who caught the fishing bug at a derby last year were back with their parents, who now call this “family time” away from the video games or TV. It is that kind of story that inspires and recharges my battery every year!” As we stood alongside the pond in our raincoats and ponchos amidst the rain, splashing fish, flying bobbers and shouts of glee, it was readily apparent that the kids were having a great time and really appreciated the caring adults and the opportunity to enjoy fishing. Mike Kruszyna, BCLS Vice President, often says that this day is one of the best days of the year for him. I agree. The Berkshire Juvenile Court Probation Office thanks all of the sponsors and sportsmen that participated in this great event. You’re welcome, but the pleasure was all ours. *****