Kid’s Day – Another Success!
Inside the Outdoors, April 30, 2010

One may recall that age-old saying, “There is a pot of gold at the end of every rainbow.” For adults that may be one way of thinking, but for the youth who took part in the annual Kingston Veteran’s and Sportsmen’s Club Kids’ Day Fishing Derby Sunday, April 25, at the Club’s pond in Derry Township, it just could be they had something a little different in mind. That pot represented not only catching one’s limit of four, but also the biggest trout as well.

The fishing tournament kicked off at 9 a.m. as 60 to 70 children or grandchildren of members took part under the unpredicted cloudy and sunny skies.

Thanks to the Kingston Fish and Game Committee, $2,000 worth of tiger, brook, brown and rainbow trout were stocked, some as large as 24 inches - some 800 fish. Kids could be seen gleaming from ear to ear as they hauled in their catches. Even those who helped and advised, could be heard yelling commands and smiling as they did so.

“I’m glad the Club does this for children, because it teaches them how to fish,” West Newton resident Marty Harris related. His daughter, Catherine, 9, caught the first trout in the tournament. David Burd, Jr., 9, son of David Burd, Sr., Latrobe, was the first angler to fill his stringer with four fish.

Paul McCallen, Loyalhanna, exclaimed, “This thing is really good for the kids. It’s a blast!”

Through the donation of the organization’s membership, the Committee, and a Cash/Gun Bash held earlier in the year, finances were made possible for the purchase of these fish that were and will be stocked at intervals throughout trout season. The Bash also enables the purchase of 100 pheasants per week during small game season.

“As has been the practice in the past, the youth are divided into three groups for the tournament according to age groups,” explained the Club’s Head Trustee Leo Henry. “They are one to six, seven to ten and eleven to fifteen. Rod and reel combos are awarded as prizes to those who place first, second and third respectively according to the biggest fish caught of each group .” All youth had to use bait as no lures were allowed.

But even though participants may not have pulled in fish, all got a small fishing-related prize for taking part in the competition. Items given away were donated by area merchants and interested parties. Sponsors included Laurel Valley Trout Farm, Grumpy Jim’s, the former Pee Vee’s, Janet Poole, Jackie Henry, Michelle Shawley, KVS, Miller Run, Shop ‘n Save, KVS Activities Fund, and the KVS Archery and Game and Fish Committees.

Even though the tournament concluded at 1 p.m., youth could continue fishing. No adults were allowed to dunk a line.

Following the Derby, members and adults shifted to the pavilion where the annual raffle was held. Once again, hats go off to the KVS Fish and Game and the Miller Run Committees for donating prizes for the event. One of the highlights was the drawing for a youth gun that was awarded to the lucky ticket holder. A 22-caliber rifle, it is shorter than the normal-sized weapon. This year the recipient was Brittany Fraicola,11 daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Marty Fraicola of Pleasant Unity.

And least it be said, there was plenty of fine food to be had for everyone. As always, the wives did a superb job preparing it and making available baked goods as well.

But this is just one in a number of events that the KVS holds for its members.

In June, the Catfish Derby takes place. Here again, the Fish and Game Committee stocks $600 to $800 worth of catfish. Fishing is permitted all night long. Once caught, the fish are filleted and cooked for anyone who wants to eat them. All participants must be 21 or older. Tickets are $10 per person.

In October, the Youth Mentor Hunt is held. Here is one event I attended last year. As a “tourist,” I accompanied members and mentors through the brush and fields in search of pheasants to hunt and harvest. It was a learning experience I’ll never forget. Thank God, I was given the strength to endure the distance so I could photograph as many different youth and their parents during either their first time pursuits or repeated ones.

The Fish and Game Committee coordinates the free Hunt with Pheasants Forever and the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Dogs and handlers are provided for the young adults to experience the joy of hunting along with adult guidance. .

Each youth who participates must have passed the hunters’ safety course. One need not be a member to take part. Additional activities during this day include target shooting with clay birds and 3D archery shooting areas.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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