Every first Saturday in May, an important event takes place at the Coon Rapids Regional Dam Park for the area’s youth.
The annual Hooked on Fishing, Not Drugs fishing clinic provides the opportunity for eager youngsters, their families and the numerous volunteers to come together for an educational and fun experience.
“This event hopes to encourage our community’s youth to take up healthy activities, such as fishing, rather than harmful activities like illegal drugs, gangs and vandalism; as well as excessive television, computer or video game use,” said Lyle Goff of the Coon Rapids Lions Club, a longtime supporter of this event.
The club has added a new activity to the clinic in the form of a fishing rod giveaway.
Club members collected 10 new and gently-used fishing rods and reels, refurbished them, then held a drawing at a recent event to give away the fishing equipment.
In preparation for the upcoming event next May, club members are hoping to provide even more fishing rods and reels for this free giveaway, according to Goff.
To meet this goal, the club is asking the public to donate new or gently-used fishing rods and reels toward this project, Goff said.
Club members would then spend the winter preparing the equipment collected, he said.
It is the hope that the club, with the help of the public and their generosity, will be able to distribute up to 50 or more free fishing rods and reels, Goff said.
“Club members are hoping that residents will look over their fishing equipment as they prepare to store it for the winter and select something to donate to this project,” he said.
“In addition, anyone interested in donating a new fishing rod and/or reel are welcome to do so.”
To make an equipment or financial donation towards this project or wish to help with the equipment preparation, contact Al Meyer at 763-427-2154 or e-mail the club at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“You can also drop off your donations during the Coon Rapids Lions Club business meetings held at the Coon Rapids VFW on the second Wednesdays of each month,” Goff said.
The meetings start at 7 p.m.
Since the club’s chartering in 1954, its members have worked on a variety of projects in the local community, such as the Books for Bango program held in the nine elementary schools in this area each year.
The club has held community fund-raisers such as the wine and epicurean delights event at Anoka-Ramsey Community College each February, the spring classic golf tournament at Bunker Hills each June and the Lions breakfasts at the Coon Rapids VFW each spring and fall.
Proceeds from these and other fund-raising events have gone to scholarships presented to students at Coon Rapids High School, Anoka-Ramsey Community College, Anoka Technical College and Northwest Passage Charter School, in addition to supporting youth and community activities throughout the year in Coon Rapids.
The club is currently continuing to serve the community through its Recycle for Sight eyeglasses and hearing aids collections at various locations throughout Coon Rapids, volunteering at Feed My Starving Children, supporting health screenings at Coon Rapids High School and other philanthropic efforts.
Lions clubs are a group of men and women who identify needs within the community and work together to fulfill those needs.
For more information or to get involved with the club, contact Dan Janish at 612-558-2851, visit the club’s website at www.coonrapidslions.org or visit the club’s Facebook page.