ESCANABA - The dictionary defines adventure as an exciting or remarkable experience.
Today it seems adventure for a kid means a new Web site or downloaded video game, many of which do not instill positive images into young minds. This is not only a statistic, it is becoming a genuine health concern.
This weekend will be sort of a holiday for the residents and guests of Michigan. It's free fishing weekend, one of two weekends per year set aside for those who have never fished before, or those who have left the sport and hope to return. The real intent is to introduce a youngster to fishing and see if they truly have interest, prior to making any extensive money investment.
Nicholas LeHouillier, left, 6, of Bark River is all smiles as he shows off the beautiful rainbow trout he caught during the 2009 Kids Fishing Day. His brother Nathan, 2, looks on, no doubt thinking about the day when he will get to catch a fish at Kids Fishing Day. Photo courtesy of Anne Okonek
To complement the opportunity to fish along about 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, 11,000 inland lakes and more than 36,000 miles of rivers, participants can take part in special events throughout the Upper Peninsula this weekend. One in particular is "Kid's Fishing Day" in the Hiawatha National Forest.
The US Forest Service / Hiawatha National Forest personnel, working in partnership with other organizations that include the Bay de Noc Great Lakes Sport Fishermen, Wildlife Unlimited of Delta County and Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment have presented Kid's Fishing Day for 19 years at Camp 7 Lake in the Hiawatha.
According to Anne Okonek from the USFS, "This free fun-filled day is designed for children 16 years of age and under who are accompanied by a parent or guardian. The day's events will include a casting contest, raffle prizes, free food, and two trout ponds for kids ages 12 and under. Smokey Bear will also be there so parents should bring a camera to get pictures of Smokey with the youngsters."
The free food is donated by local merchants from Manistique, Escanaba, Gladstone and Rapid River.
I have seen first hand the excitement on the faces of children and their first catch, who have lived their entire life in the UP, yet had never previously held a fishing pole, much less caught a fish.
Therein lies the sense of adventure. It is constructive activity and provides youth fun and education regarding our eco-system and food sources when utilizing our natural resources, not to mention it is just plain fun.
Kid's Fishing Day is one of 84 events taking place across the country tomorrow as part of the Second Annual National Get Outdoors Day.
Kid's Fishing Day is a good excuse for you as an adult to break away from the stressors of day-to-day living and enjoy some quality time with your children. It is amazing how when together the youth open up with questions and comments, something missing in many of today's families.
The event will take place rain or shine so dress accordingly. This is also a good opportunity to teach a youngster about preparedness, having the right clothing and gear in the event weather changes.
Kid's Fishing Day will begin with registration and the events will begin at 11 a.m. and will run until 4 p.m. in the Camp 7 Picnic Area.
For families traveling from the Manistique area, Camp 7 Lake Campground is located 4 miles west of County Road 437 (the Thunder Lake Road) on County 442. For families traveling from Escanaba, Gladstone and Rapid River, Camp 7 Lake Campground is located 8 miles east of Federal Forest Highway 13 on County Road 442
They've had record numbers of kids attending the Kid's Fishing Day over the past several years. It's no wonder. Who wouldn't want to take advantage of an opportunity to start off on a life time of adventures?
Tim Kobasic is the outdoors editor for KMB Broadcasting and host/producer for Tails & Trails Outdoor Radio, aired on six radio stations over three networks, Charter Communications cable and the Internet Saturday mornings.