Many years ago people of my generation and older would regularly watch a television show called The Southern Sportsman. Franc White was the host, and the format was pretty simple and consistent. He would show some footage of fishing or hunting trip, go to the kitchen and show you how to cook whatever he caught or killed, and then finish the footage.
He would venture throughout North and South Carolina and go anywhere from the mountains to coast and all places in between. White was easily identified by his zebra striped boat and airplane. Even the commercials that played during his show became synonymous with both the outdoors and himself, such as the line “choose Happy Jack, your dog would.” It was part of the show each weekend.
But probably the most recognizable and memorable part of the show was Franc White’s closing line. Each and every show ended with “Do yourself a favor, take a kid fishing.”
Now there are many lines that people use everyday, including “give a man a fish, he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish, and he will eat forever.” Well, take a kid fishing, and he will love the outdoors forever.
And that brings me to this. A social media ‘friend’, Samantha Gay, has come up with a field trip for two classes at the school where she works. It would probably be best if I shared her exact words:
“As we all know, exposure to the nature is very important to children’s development, intellectually, emotionally, socially, spiritually, and physically. If children are raised with little or no connection to nature, they may miss out on the many benefits that being outdoors offers. Research shows that outdoor experiences help reduce negative stress and protect psychological well-being, especially in children undergoing stressful life events. It also suggests that children involved in outdoor educational settings show improvement in self-esteem, problem solving and motivation to learn!
By encouraging children to get out and enjoy the simplicity of nature while doing something so rewarding as fishing, they are able to obtain knowledge and skills that can be applied to all areas of their lives. Knowing how to fish instills confidence, as it builds independence and self-worth. It also teaches children the wonders of the great outdoors, while developing an appreciation and respect for nature. Learning a skill, such as fishing, also teaches patience, good morals and ethics, while promoting healthier lifestyles, as well. Unfortunately, in the technological age we live in, people, especially children, spend less time playing outdoors than any other generation. Children are spending more time indoors, glued to a television set and/or video games, becoming less active, which also has profound effects on their health.”
Samantha is raising funds and donations to assist in the field trip, and in doing so, is hoping to be able to leave each of the kids with a rod and reel to keep for themselves.
Imagine if your teacher announced to your class in fourth grade that you would be going on a field trip fishing, and get to keep a rod and reel so you can go fishing anytime you wanted afterwards. It is easy to understand why these kids are so excited.
In the process, many donors have stepped up, including the likes of Zebco, Plano, Flambeau, Rat-L-Trap, Strike King, Gary Yamamoto, and many more. But there is still more needed. The field trip is coming up on May 6th.
If you would be interested in donating money, you can do so at http://www.gofundme.com/gethookedonfishing. Or you can contact Samantha directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer, or assist in other ways.
You never know what will be the one thing that influences someone’s life, and something like this has the potential to do so.
And to modify the late Franc White’s encouraging closing line, do yourself a favor and help take a kid fishing.