Title of Project:
Ventura County Sportfishing Club Kids Fishing Trip
Ventura County Sportfishing Club
The Ventura County Sportfishing Club began 12 years ago with the idea to have like-minded anglers fishing together. The motto of this club is "Fish With Friends". Two years into the club's inception the members wanted to give back to the community and chose to adopt an annual kids fishing trip to take disadvantaged youth out on the ocean. For the past ten years the club takes up to 70 children, age 8-13 years old, on a local sportfishing vessel to show them the wonders of the marine environment. Most of these kids have never seen the ocean let alone spent the day on the water catching fish, seeing wildlife, and learning about the importance of conservation.
The Ventura County Sportfishing Club has worked with battered women's groups, domestic violence groups, and the RAIN Project, which is a transitional living center providing housing and necessary training and resources to help individuals and families successfully transition to independent living. The kids are shuttled from the centers by counselors and personnel from the RAIN project. The children range in age from 8-13. For the most part, each year brings new kids but there have been a few kids that have been able to enjoy the trip more than once.
The trip fishes the local islands, usually Anacapa or Santa Cruz Island. They catch a variety of fish including rockfish, calico and sand bass, whitefish, barracuda and yellowtail.
With close to 70 children onboard, the club provides 10-15 volunteers to "coach" the kids and help them catch fish, tie knots, or answer any questions they may have. The RAIN Project also provides approximately 10 counselors to accompany the children on the trip.
No permits are required for this event
A few months before the event a volunteer list goes around at the monthly club meeting. It never makes it far before the sign up sheet is full. The club provides approximately 15 volunteers, 10 counselors from the RAIN project, and crew onboard the sportfishing vessel.
Rods and reels are borrowed from the Los Angeles Rod and Reel Club in the San Fernando Valley. Eric's Tackle in Ventura generously donates all of the terminal tackle for this event.
The Ventura County Sportfishing Club raises money throughout the year in their monthly club meeting raffles. A large portion of this money raised goes towards this annual fishing trip. The Club also gets some monies donated from the Friends of Rollo foundation. The cost of the boat is approximately $2000. The club also pays for all of the food for the children to eat which is at least $1500. A Polaroid picture is taken of each fish caught, again paid for by the club. The club also covers the cost of fish cleaning as well as providing a gratuity to the crew of the boat. Annual the cost of this trip are rarely less than $4500.
Estimated Time Requirements:
The trip fishes from 9am-4pm. Members volunteer to pick up and deliver tackle, rods/reels, other ancillary needs in the days before the event. The biggest time commitment is the day of the event, which actually encompasses the hours of 7am-6pm.
In the past few years, the difficulty in planning this event has been the fear that there will not be enough funds to make it happen. Less money is donated, the boat does not provide a discount, and costs have risen. Being that most of the monies are raised or donated, any decline in those areas makes it very difficult for the club to provide these children with this incredible opportunity.
The benefits of this trip are seen on the faces of these children as they catch their first fish, see their first dolphin or sea lion on the water, and learn how to use a rod/reel. When the kids first get to the landing there is trepidation and caution on their faces. At the end of the day the kids are smiling and laughing, hugging the club members and thanking them for "one of the best days of their life" as many have stated.
RAIN Project- http://www.volunteerventuracounty.org/org/12538070.html
Ventura County Human Services Agency - http://portal.countyofventura.org/portal/page?_pageid=884,1130008&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL
Naval Base Ventura County - http://www.navy.mil/local/nbvc/?Conservation