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Youth fishing program launched in Caledon and Orangeville

May 24, 2019   ·   0 Comments

By – Joshua Santos

A youth fishing league has been launched to have children explore the great outdoors and lake.

Michael Sklad, founder of Fishing Friendzy will bring his coaches and staff to Ken Whillans Resource Management Area in Caledon Village to teach children how to fish.

“It’s very therapeutic being out in nature, connected, seeing the birds and trees and animals,” said Sklad. “It’s something so good for us all, but it’s something where we need more kids and adults to get outdoors and explore and be kind to our planet. That’s the bigger picture, to create the next generation that cares deeply for our forests, land and environment and all the animals that live on it.”

The program runs on Wednesday, May 29 from 6 to 9 p.m. and cost $250. It is designed to give children the opportunity to learn about ethical angling while competing against others in a friendly team setting.

It will also return on June 5, June 12, June 19, July 7, July 14, July 21 and July 28. It also runs in Orangeville at Island Lake Conservation on Saturday, June 1, June 8, June 15th, June 22, July 7, July 14, July 21 and July 28.

Sklad believes that if children are taught about the outdoors and connecting with it, they’ll want to protect it when they are older.

Having two four children of his own, Sklad said it’s important for kids to disconnect and get away from technology.

“Even for us, it’s hard to get completely away from the electronics like TV and iPad, but as parents being proactive, it’s very important for us to get our children outdoors and take them out,” said Sklad. “Not just send them outdoors, it’s about us being there for them and giving them limited time with the iPads or TV.”

“A big thing too is with the iPad and technology, it’s really tough for kids, because they’re just developing, yet this technology is overstimulating their brain,” said Sklad. “It’s very difficult for them to navigate this world. I didn’t grow up with computers and iPad. That’s something very new to society. Getting them outdoors is so important now because it really does simplify life.”

During the league, Sklad and his coaches give children their jerseys, fishing rods, tackle, glasses, hat and packages for being a competitor in the youth league. Once that happens, they will give them a quick demonstration on how to cast.

“Some of the kids love fishing and some of these kids have never fished before in their life,” said Sklad. “We want to make sure we see where everybody is at, to give them an educational rundown of how to cast a fishing rod.”

The children are them put into teams of up to two to four teammates and two coaches who will mentor the children to help strategize for the day of fishing and help score and release any fish caught.

“We really want the kids to choose their own lures, ask questions, go to different areas of the lake that they want to go to, and it’s all shoreline fishing,” said Sklad. “It’s all catch and release fishing. We really want to teach kids when they’re young how to properly handle fish, how to remove a hook properly and just good ethics about not leaving garbage, cleaning up along the shoreline so they’re groomed into this way of being conservationists, exploring and really getting into that aspect of getting outdoors and exploring and going adventures. If they have their rod in hand, there’s a lot of good things and cool things they can see, in between catches.”

Sklad and his wife have been operating Fishing Friendzy for 10 years. They do exhibits and travel to fairs, festivals and events to teach children about ethical angling and protecting the environment.

“Fishing is just the activity we use to really expose them to nature and connect them to the great outdoors,” said Sklad.

For more information or to sign up your children, visit www.fishingfriendzy.com



         

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