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First Ever Flint Area Get Youth Outdoors Day A Huge Success

Flint, Mich — The Inaugural Flint Area Get Youth Outdoors Day, Saturday, June 10, drew more than 90 eager and excited youth, along with their parents or guardians, to the Bluegill Boat Launch on Mott Lake near Flint, Michigan.

Hosted by the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA), United Auto Workers Local 659 and the Genesee County Parks and Recreation Commission (GCPRC), in partnership with the Skuta Outdoor Alliance, Flint River Watershed Coalition, Pheasants Forever and National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), the free community event offered children and adults alike a hands-on learning experience in fishing, air rifle shooting, kayaking, dog training, wild turkey calling and more during the free community outreach event.

“It was an incredible day,” says Duane Ballard, Local 659 Financial Secretary and Flint Area Get Youth Outdoors Day coordinator. “For a first-time event, we had a fantastic turnout and amazing help from our group of volunteers.”

Admission to the park and parking was free, he adds, and each child received a free rod-and-reel, courtesy of the USA. They then learned how to cast a line and land panfish from the lake’s shoreline from 24 UAW Local 659 members and several of their family members who donated their time and skills to coach the young anglers.

“Duane, along with the Genesee County Parks staff, did an amazing job of organizing so many activities for the kids,” says Sam Phipps, USA Conservation Programs Manager. “Besides fishing, they learned about firearm safety, got to shoot BB guns and witnessed trained bird dogs in action with the Pheasants Forever organization. They learned how to paddle a kayak from the people with the Flint River Watershed Coalition and were introduced to wild turkey behavior and vocalization from the folks with the NWTF. They even learned a thing or two about conservation and the game of football from former professional player and USA member Dan Skuta and the Skuta Outdoor Alliance.”

Through the USA’s Work Boots on the Ground conservation program union members and affiliated volunteers donated 248 hours of their time to helping Flint area children learn to appreciate the outdoors and outdoor activities during the Get Youth Outdoors Day.

“It was a phenomenal event,” says GCPRC Chief Park Naturalist Nicole Ferguson, “and so well-run by the USA and UAW. Every single volunteer who came out was excited and eager to jump in and do whatever needed to be done. And the people who came to participate were blown away by all the new things that were offered. Our regular visitors were impressed and many newcomers to the park said they look forward to coming back.”

The Flint Area Get Youth Outdoors Day was part of a series of free, community-based events, organized through the USA’s Work Boots on the Ground program with support from USA national partners Provost Umphrey Law Firm, Union Plus, and Humana as well as founding partners UIG, ULLICO, Bank of Labor, AFL-CIO Investment Trust Corporation, and Buck Knives.

Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA)

The USA is a union-dedicated, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose members hunt, fish, shoot and volunteer their skills for conservation. The USA is uniting the union community through conservation to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage. For more information, visit www.unionsportsmen.org or connect on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Work Boots on the Ground (WBG)

WBG is the USA’s flagship conservation program that brings together union members willing to volunteer their time and expertise to conservation projects that improve and enhance public access to the outdoors, conserve wildlife habitat, restore America’s parks and mentor youth in the outdoors. The USA’s Work Boots on the Ground program works closely with federal, state and local agencies and other conservation groups to provide manpower needed to complete critical projects that may otherwise go undone.

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