YMCA partners with Fishing for Life

Several hundred fishing poles and other fishing equipment were refurbished in the gymnasium of the Emma B. Howe Family YMCA, Coon Rapids, May 18.

The five-hour event was the result of a partnership between the YMCA and Fishing for Life, a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving youth through various fishing programs.

Volunteers, including 50 employees from Cummins Power Generation, restored fishing poles, reels and tackle boxes, that will be used to serve youth, family and community through fishing and outdoor programs.

According to Tom Goodrich, executive director of Fishing for Life, the fishing poles – he estimated 800 of them – and other equipment has been donated to the organization.

“In some cases, they come from grandpa’s garage,” Goodrich said.

Barrels were set up at 21 YMCA locations in the Twin Cities area, including the Emma B. Howe branch, to collect the donated equipment, he said.

The refurbished fishing equipment, which also includes tackle boxes, will go to day camp programs of the YMCA branches in the Twin Cities as well as to the Boys’ and Girls Club and Kinship programs, Goodrich said.

In addition, anyone who calls Fishing for Life asking for fishing equipment for a child will get one, he said.

“We don’t want fishing equipment lying around the office,” Goodrich said.

The partnership between the YMCA and Fishing for Life is a “good fit” and Goodrich is a longtime YMCA member, according to Chad Lammers, executive director of the Emma B. Howe Family YMCA.

And some of the fishing poles and other equipment restored at the Emma B. Howe Family YMCA May 18 will go to the branch’s annual Camp Guy Robinson summer day camp program at Anoka County’s Lake George Regional Park, Lammers said.

“Camp Guy Robinson will be a big recipient,” he said.

According to Goodrich, there will be another fishing pole restoration project at Thorne Bros., a sporting goods store in Blaine, which is scheduled for Friday, June 8.

People wishing to donate fishing poles and other fishing equipment can get in touch with Fishing for Life or drop them off at the store, Goodrich said.

Richard Schrempp works on restoration work on a fishing pole in the gymnasium of the Emma B. Howe Family YMCA, Coon Rapids, May 18.

Richard Schrempp works on restoration work on a fishing pole in the gymnasium of the Emma B. Howe Family YMCA, Coon Rapids, May 18.

According to its website, Minneapolis-based Fishing for Life is a nonprofit Christian fund-raising group working to support urban youth ministries in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

In 2008, it was chosen by the National Parks and Recreation Association to serve as one of 30 “anchor agencies” in the U.S. dedicated to promoting and engaging youth in fishing and boating activities.

Fishing for Life has three programs.

• Reel ’Em in Kids, which collects unwanted rods, reels and tackle, then distributes them to underserved youth at lake events and community festivals throughout the year.

• Fish Fair, an outdoor winter fishing carnival for kids and their families.

• Fish-A-Thon, a fund-raiser for organizations serving urban youth.

For more information about Fishing for Life call 612-987-5466 or go online to www.fishingforlife.org.

The YMCA is more than a “gym and swim” – it is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that addresses critical needs in local communities through programs in child care, youth development, school success, fitness and more, according to the YMCA website.

The focus of its programs is on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.

Peter Bodley is at peter.bodley@ecm-inc.com


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