Students Get Hooked

ST. MARYS — Despite the drizzly weather, local students spent their Friday learning an alternative activity that they could turn to instead of making destructive decisions.

Seventh-grade students at St. Marys Middle School spent time at the East Bank of Grand Lake St. Marys to participate in Hooked on Fishing-Not on Drugs, which Guidance Counselor Rebecca Moore noted is a national recognized drug-prevention program of the Future Fisherman Foundation.

 “This is an excellent program for helping young people cope with the problems of today,” Moore said. “Hooked on Fishing helps introduce kids to a positive outlet to turn to than drugs. I believe it also builds self-esteem and self-confidence. Students learn through this experience outdoor ethics, respect for themselves and others, aquatic ecology, catch and release and how to fish.”

She noted the activity also helps the students develop multiple skills.”

“Hooked on Fishing provides the students with hand on real life experience, helping them develop life skills such as goal setting, decision making, self-esteem, respect and responsibility,” Moore said.

She noted the middle school has participated in the program for more than 10 years.

“This was around our 15th year doing Hooked on Fishing,” Moore said, adding state park personnel helped out this year. “Grand Lake VIPs sent out six volunteers who helped the students with their rods and catch and release of the fish and even one or two snapping turtles.”

She also noted a local couple who has helped with the activity for years.

“We were privileged to have Ron and Margaret Hunter out today who have been volunteering for over 13 years for Hooked on Fishing and are here from 7:30 a.m. till 1:30 p.m. each September when we fish,” Moore said. “They are repairing rods, adding hooks, dealing with tangles, bobbers, sinkers, pretty much they do it all and always with a smile on their face. They are such a joy to have and the kids really love having them there.”