More so than ever, we feel overwhelmed today in a society full of distractions and requests for your time. News stations bombard us with content 24 hours a day. Smart phones constantly push text messages, emails, stock updates, and weather alerts. Our children are involved in an activity every night of the week. Bills need paying, the lawn needs mowing, and the DVR is loaded with hours and hours of shows which we haven’t found the time to watch yet. Somewhere in the midst of all of that mess, the odds are pretty good that if you are reading this article you also try to squeeze in time to go fishing.
With so many things vying for our precious time, the time available to “give back” often feels the crunch. Sometimes a group comes along with a cause worthy enough that you just want to make time. For us here at the Minneapolis Fishing Examiner, “Let’s Go Fishing” was just such a group.
From their website, the group’s mission is to “enrich the lives of people age 55 and older through free fishing and boating excursions that strengthen communities, build relationships and create memories”.
As Minnesotans, we have been blessed to live in the land of 10,000 lakes (the actual count of lakes of 10 acres or more is actually 11,842) – and for many of us, those lakes are a convenient source of enjoyment and recreation throughout all four seasons. “Let’s Go Fishing” endeavors to return that same sense of fun and relaxation through an experience on the water given to those who might not otherwise have an opportunity to fish, boat, or otherwise spend time on the water. While their mission statement specifically calls out people who likely fall into the “senior citizen” category, they in fact have served over 60,000 seniors, youths, veterans, and disabled adults through the charitable donation of time by nearly 2,100 volunteers organized under 28 chapters statewide since their founding in 2002.
This all sounds well and good, but how exactly does “Let’s Go Fishing” manage to do this? First and foremost, it all starts with a generous combination of local chapter volunteers and corporate sponsors. Companies like Lund, Mercury Marine, and Northland Tackle have stepped up with donations and/or discounted equipment, and passionate anglers help put that equipment to use to get people on the water (whether to go fishing, spend time with friends, or make some new ones while surrounding with a very picturesque backdrop). Volunteer opportunities are available to help with everything from fundraisers and being a community board member to actually hopping on a boat to take people fishing (arguably our favorite part!). For those of us with even less time than others, LGF will also gladly accept donations of money, fishing equipment,or even your used boat.
Getting involved locally is a relatively straight-forward affair – you can either contact the headquarters (1-888-235-8448, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org), or contact your local chapter. If a chapter doesn’t exist in your area yet, please contact the headquarters to express interest (you might not be the only one in your town!). One local example is actually just getting spun up now – Jeff Jarvis in Faribault is hosting an introductory meeting on Tuesday, April 3rd to help kick off the newest chapter (if you’re in the area, and interested in getting involved, please be sure to drop by the meeting – details are available here, or you may contact Jeff at 507-334-2064).