A few of us in the YA family are old enough - and some at this advanced age can remember at least one or two things - and we recall the first ever meeting between YakAngler and Georgia Kayak Fishing.
It was cold. Very cold. It was wet. Too wet. Lake Harding on the Chattahoochee River looked like chocolate milk. The fishing was miserable. I still feel sorry for Isaac 'The Nothing' flying all the way from Oregon and then driving all the way from Kentucky to have such a mediocre camping and fishing experience.
Several things stick from that gathering and one that lives on for us in Georgia is a commitment to kids. Chip the treehugger had Brad the clone with
him. Camped right nearby were Deano and his son Cody. Joe Davis brought his son Jonah and his nephew Mason along. Mark Burkhart (Nolzman) had the whole family along for a cold campout.
Mark won a boat in the tournament that we had that Saturday and Brad won a boat in the Youth Division. But more than boats or prizes or raffles was the tone set that day for including kids in the delight of paddling and fishing and respecting nature.
Three years later the spirit lives on. On Saturday Feb 23rd at the Georgia Go Fish Center in Perry GA, Georgia Kayak Fishing welcomed their first 8 Youth Members into the fold and announced a program year for them that includes study and curriculum from 'Leave No Trace' (lnt.org), activities in water cleanup and recycling, understanding their watershed, and of course, plenty of camping, paddling and fishing in the diverse geography of a very fishy state.
There is nothing quite like getting kids and grandkids out - try it! I have no doubt that these kids will teach what they have learned - the next generation is being served, and the one after that will be as well.