Marietta, OH — For roughly 100 young anglers, Saturday, September 16 was a day filled with wiggly nightcrawlers, bass and bluegill thanks to a free Take Kids Fishing Day event at Buckeye Park in Marietta, Ohio. Hosted by the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) and IBEW Local 972, the community event was sponsored by the Ohio AFL-CIO.
The goal of the event was to introduce local youth aged two to 15 to fishing and the great outdoors. On hand were volunteers from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 972, who helped put together poles, cook hot dogs and hand out goodie bags.
Nicole Webster, an officer with Local 972 and volunteer, says the event helps put a face to the union. “But it’s also a way for us to give back to the community and let them know that we’re not just here for business. It’s a way for us to bring our community together,” Webster says.
The family-friendly event was part of a series of free, community-based Take Kids Fishing Day events, organized through the USA’s Work Boots on the Ground (WBG) 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. WBG brings together union members willing to volunteer their time and expertise to complete conservation infrastructure projects and mentor youth in the outdoors.
Each youth participant received a rod and reel combo as well as a deer call to take home. For volunteer and fellow organizer Kyle Blinn, an officer with IBEW Local 972, that was a definite highlight for the kids—and for him.
“There was a kid there who asked if he could keep the pole and game call,” Blinn says. “We told him he could keep them. He said he’d never gotten anything like that before. That tugged at my heartstrings a bit.”
“With so many devices vying for children’s attention, events like this are more important than ever to get both kids and parents away from electronics and immersed in the outdoors together,” said USA CEO and Executive Director Walt Ingram. “We are grateful to the Ohio AFL-CIO and IBEW Local 972 and all the volunteers who turned out to give participating families a fun and educational experience and spark their interest in fishing.”
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.