Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma is partnering with the Oklahoma Department
of Wildlife Conservation to get youth into the outdoors with adult sportsmen.
Big Brothers Big Sisters matches youth with adults in communities across the country
to develop positive relationships and have a direct and lasting effect on the lives of young people.
The one-to-one mentoring program recently participated in one of the Wildlife Department’s
free fishing clinics at the Zebco Casting Pond at the Oklahoma Aquarium in Jenks, where youth and adults are invited all summer to learn how to fish.
“One of the best ways to connect with somebody is in the field, whether hunting or fishing,” said Lance Meek, senior information and education specialist for the
Wildlife Department. “Our free fishing clinics offer an opportunity to do just that without needing to own any equipment. Anyone who is looking for something to do
that’s fun for all ages should come to one of our free family fishing clinics.”
The free fishing clinics are held throughout the summer as part of the Wildlife Department’s Aquatic Resource Education Program.
Developed in 1988, the program’s objectives are to increase the understanding, appreciation, and awareness of Oklahoma’s aquatic resources; facilitate the learning of angling skills, outdoor ethics, and
sport fishing opportunities in the state; enhance urban fishing opportunities; develop adult fishing clinics; and provide information on specialized fishing techniques.
Clinics are held from 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. nightly Monday through Thursday at the Jenks Casting Pond and on Thursday evenings from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at the Arcadia Conservation Education Area Kids Pond near Edmond. Clinics also are held at other various locations across the state, with a full listing of dates and times available online at wildlifedepartment.com .
“Being a partner with the Department of Wildlife is awesome for us because a lot of the kids in our program are kids that live in the City of Tulsa and really don’t have a chance to experience these types of events,” said Brian Carr, a recruiter for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma. “So this is a way to really broaden their horizons and get them out of their norm – get them outside of that box – and introduce them to the outdoors, which is something that we feel like is really important.
Through this partnership, not only are we able to expose the kids to the outdoors and create a whole new generation of outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen, but we’re also able to find those people who might want to become mentors; people that enjoy the outdoors themselves and might want to share that with one of the kids in our programs.”
“We’re always looking for new volunteers – specifically men,” Carr said. “We have a really big need, especially here in the Tulsa area, for men for the boys in our programs.” According to Carr, fishing fills a need for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma because it offers something fun that adults and youth can do together, and opportunities for good fishing exist all over the state. “Through this, we hope to be able to reach out to some of those men who already fish, they hunt, they enjoy the outdoors,” Carr said. “And they can share that with one of the young boys in our program.” Officials with the Wildlife Department encourage the state’s sportsmen to get involved in sharing the outdoors with youth. According to Meek, the Department’s educational programs and BBBS are a natural fit.
“They have young people and adults looking for a quality experience, and our aquatic education events can provide a quality outdoor experience for them,” Meek said. “Anyone who is looking for something to do that’s fun for all ages should come to one our free family fishing clinics.” For more information about the Wildlife Department’s aquatic resource education program, log onto wildlifedepartment.com. For more information about Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma, log on to www.bbbsok.org.