GREENVILLE — The Light Foundation is rolling out a new program through their Leadership Academy this fall, Hooked on Fishing! Ages 5-17 will enjoy the outdoors while learning everything about the outdoor sport.
Although new to The Light Foundation, it is not new to the Darke County community, as its prior name was “Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs.” This program has been around for the past 14 years after being founded by the late John Winger.
“John had a love for fishing, a passion for youth, and a very giving heart,” said April Brubaker, Light Foundation Program Director.
He partnered with Darke County Sheriff’s D.A.R.E. Officer, Donald Drew, Sr.; local avid angler, Bob Farmer; and with the support of many like-minded volunteers, they sailed the program for over a decade.
“I was contacted by surviving board member Doug Brickley who was hoping we could continue the popular program well into the future,” noted Brubaker.
“He knew this aligned well with our mission, as he and his team have assisted us with our Fishing Family Fun Day through the LIGHT Project and during partnered programs that take place at Chenoweth Trails Pond,” she continued.
The Light Foundation saw no better time than now to offer a leadership and fishing program in a larger scope. The already-well-attended program aligns with their mission of helping young people develop the skills, values, and mindset they need to create a meaningful and productive future.
A well-known community member, Dwight “Bufford” Edwards, has stepped up to help the Foundation take this program to the next level.
“As a retired wildlife officer, I love the outdoors and educating the youth, so I see no better opportunity than this as a way for me to spend my time giving back,” says Bufford, Light Foundation volunteer.
Light Leaders will be a mentoring opportunity available for ages 12-17 within the Hooked on Fishing program. They will assist the younger generation while they build positive self-esteem, confidence, leadership skills, and find comfort in the outdoors.
Ages 5-12 will learn how to throw a cast, bait a hook, and, of course, reel in a big one under the guidance of the Light Leaders and long-time anglers. The curriculum will also focus on the importance of making wise decisions and conservation efforts.
The first event will kick off on Sept. 24, 10 a.m. to noon at the shelter house on Iroquois Lake in Wayne Lakes. It is free to everyone, thanks to grants received from Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund, and AES.
They encourage families to attend and bring lawn chairs, refreshments, snacks and their own fishing poles if they have them. The Light Foundation will supply up to 50 fishing poles, fishing bait, and fun activities.
RSVP on their website: mattlight72.com/hof. For questions, email April Brubaker at [email protected].