Trying to add a little fun to the lives of seniors, a new Stillwater chapter of a volunteer group will providing free fishing trips this summer for up to 1,500 people on the St. Croix River. The “Let’s Go Fishing” program matches individuals with guides who provide the boat, gear, bait, and everything else needed to get fishing, the Star Tribune reports:
The Stillwater chapter, new last year, will hit the water as many as 10 times a week through October to take seniors, the disabled and veterans aged 55 or older out fishing — at no cost to them whatsoever. A crew of “captains” and “mates” will help anglers on the pontoon boat with anything they need to make the fishing a memorable experience.
About 50 volunteers take turns guiding the excursions, said chapter spokesman Rick Fields.
“When you get seniors out on the water, it just seems like magic happens,” he said. “People get out of their element, their routine, they mix with other folks, they’re on a beautiful river, they’re relaxing, it brings back lots of childhood memories. When you’re on the water, the whole world seems right.”
The Let’s Go Fishing organization, a nonprofit, was formed in Minnesota in 2002. They seek to promote volunteerism, while noting that it isn’t just about catching fish:
Fishing and boating is such a common past-time for Minnesotans and we may often take for granted how easy it is for many of us to enjoy our state’s beautiful lakes and rivers. LGF returns the outdoor experience to those whom might not otherwise have the opportunity to fish, boat or enjoy time with friends on the water. Since our inception in 2002, we have served over 50,000 seniors, youth, veterans and disabled adults. Today 27 LGF chapters exist throughout Minnesota.
The Stillwater chapter’s website provides more information about the trips:
Our trained staff of captains and crew with the 25 foot customized pontoon are ready to provide fishing or cruising trips. The boat is designed with three pontoons, higher guard rails, wider door access, and 12 captain chairs for our guests and staff. Chairs can be removed to accommodate wheel chairs.
Let’s Go Fishing accepts tax-deductible donations as well as volunteer help with everything from guiding fishing trips to fund-raising. Check out its website for additional information.