Something small can make someone so happy, including small fish. This is the first year the Arkansas Tech Fishing Club has gotten the chance to bring happiness to several elementary children in Russellville, Arkansas by taking them fishing.
Each year, several second graders from elementary schools, such as: Crawford, Oakland Heights, Sequoyah, London, Center Valle, and Dwight elementary, gather together to enjoy a field day. This year, the field day was located at the Russellville Country Club. There are several ponds at the golf course and members of Tech’s Fishing Club got to take each second grader fishing.
The president of the Tech Fishing Club, Jordan Ogle, an emergency management major from Morrilton, loves giving back to the community. “As a club, it’s an opportunity for us to be able to give back to the community that supports us and the things that we strive to do.”
The Tech Fishing Club teaching children how to fish is a way to get young boys and girls interested in the sport. Each member of the club was assigned a certain number of hours to fish with the second graders.
“The next generation of children need to know about the benefits of fishing,” Ogle said. “I want children to know that you can fish competitively and also just for fun. It can lead to scholarships, sponsorships as well as developing a lifelong passion for reeling in that monster fish.”
The weather delayed the first morning of fishing, but that afternoon there were smiles on all the children’s faces that were able to reel in their own fish.
Despite the delay, the kids were still very anxious to begin their fishing activity. They huddled all the second graders up and explained how the fishing activity was going to work.
The club members got to bait each hook with a nightcrawler worm. Bennet Pierce, a management and marketing major from Fort Smith, said, “I was baiting a hook while the little boy I was teaching to fish got a tad bit excited and jerked the rod and stuck the small hook in my finger. It was quite an experience that I will never forget. It made me think about when I was little and my dad would take me fishing and how aggravated he would get when I hooked him on certain occasions.”
They were fishing for several species and fish, such as: largemouth bass, blue and channel catfish, black crappie and bluegill. Several children caught a fish while others got to experience a slow day of fishing.
One of the members on the Tech Fishing Club connected with the children he got to teach. Hampton Hasek, a psychology and criminal justice major from Maumelle, said, “It was probably one of the best experiences with children I have ever had. The children I was assigned listened to every little detail I said and were so eager to learn. They were trying so hard, I was just praying that bobber would go under. Finally, one child yelled ‘Hampton’ and started freaking out. I ran over to her and she had a huge catfish. Her eyes were bigger than silver dollars. I have never seen someone so excited. Getting to see the kids smile was definitely my favorite part. I have never seen something so small make someone so happy!”
The fishing club wants to see the joy on the kid’s faces each year. They get invited to local elementary schools and take every opportunity they can to get the word out about fishing.
“We have hosted seminars where we take our boats and the elementary kids get to see what a fishing boat is all about getting to see them smile, sure makes our day 100 percent better,” Ogle said.