Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Get the Kids Out

Flashback--two months ago this past weekend. I find the photo important because it shows a whole group of kids, not of one family, involved in fishing, and ice fishing at that! They eagerly await the moment that followed, when a pickerel came throught the hole.

Now more than ever kids need to get outdoors, because it used to always be taken for granted, and now it's a problem that they don't get enough natural exposure. All sorts of articles and books imply this issue, but a popular and deeply researched account is The Last Child in the Woods, by Richard Louv. I stumbled upon it in a bookstore on Ocracoke Island, North Carolina, in 2006. Reading it, I knew the book was a wonder, but I seriously doubted it would become popular. Now it's a bestseller. Louv appeared on Good Morning America and in countless other public forums. I had taken my son, aged two, swimming in the North Branch Raritan River. Much of what Louv has to say I was no stranger to, but the book would be deeply informing for anyone who hasn't read it.

On the local scene, I'm reminded of a fly fishing course led by New Jersey outdoors educator and writer, Chris Lido, that was scheduled to take place this past fall on a weekly basis for Bedminster School middle school aged kids. Before I knew about it, my wife had my son signed on.

"It's led by Chris Lido," she told me.

"Lido! He writes for the Fisherman..." She wasn't surprised.

I went into action and strongly encouraged my son to get friends signed on. For awhile I think we were short two kids--the program would not go without the quota. But then we had the quota full--I thought--until the deadline hit, and we were short one boy, just one. I knew one of our recruits had bailed.

But the point is, good intentions are out there. Bedminster just happens not to be much of a town for anglers anyhow, despite the river running through it--the North Branch. Manny Luftglass would have held a presentation at Clarence Dillon Public Library this coming May 3rd--if people signed up besides myself and my son.

However, this is not a losing battle. The losing battle would be if every kid stayed indoors. How would we function in reality if we became that out of touch with it? We wouldn't. Society would implode.



  1. Hello,

    If this fly fishing course offered by Chris Lido ever takes place would you mind contacting me? Would like to post info about it on my website: http://www.takekidsflyfishing.com/ Promoting the outdoors for kids is, as you noted, very important. Fly fishing is perhaps one of the best ways to do that.

    Thank you.

    Kirk Werner

  2. Kirk, Chris Lido became editor of The Fisherman magazine. So he's not doing these courses any longer, as far as I know.


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