Fishermen And Schools

The schools of Texas have a new weapon to fight drugs. This weapon is stronger than any swords or guns-gangs or drug dealers. It’s fishing. Schools, parents, Texas Parks and Wildlife, law enforcement personnel, community leaders, celebrities, T.B.B.U. and other fishing organizations have combined forces to create their own positive solution to the drug problem. Get Hooked On Fishing-Not Drugs, is a national program of the Future Fisherman Foundation. Active in a mother state for years, this award winning program has now found its way to Texas. This is thanks to the hard work of concerned individuals and fishermen dedicated to fostering the well being of our youth. “The program has two major parts,” says Holt Taylor, Chairman of the Texas Volunteer Coordinating Committee. “The in-school portion of the program is a year-round curriculum which uses fishing, staying in school and staying off drugs as a theme for all subjects. The fishing theme holds the kids interest and helps them learn. The curriculum is devoted to grades kindergarten through twelfth grade and qualifies for federal drug-free school funds. The program does not cost the schools anything.” The non-school part of the program is a creation of a chapter that is assigned to each school. “Each chapter is made up of parents, teachers, local business leaders, law enforcement personnel, fishing club members, civic organizations and other interested individuals” he explains. “The chapter operates like a club and organizes the meetings, clinics and fishing that takes place at least once a month.” In addition to the ongoing support from T.B.B.U. and its members, Get Hooked On Fishing-Not Drugs has also been adopted by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the Texas Federation of B.A.S.S., the Texas Association of Bass Clubs and the San Antonio League of Bass Clubs. Other supporters include John Hope and Fishing Texas, Judy Wong of the Bassin’ Gals, Fredonia Graphics of Nacogdoches, Shirley Creek Marina on Lake Sam Rayburn and Abu Garcia. Why does it work? This program is not lecture oriented. It is a free-form program that maintains the students’ involvement through fishing and exposing them to positive adult role models. Fishing unites families by taking parents and children away from stressful distractions and giving them a new forum for communication. The quiet time creates the perfect environment for kids and adults to listen and talk. The program unites communities through involvement in fishing derbies, clinics, and other outdoor activities. Activities that provide recognition and non-drug lie are effective in changing student drug use behavior. Fishing helps students build self confidence and self-esteem. Students learn to appreciate others and the natural world around them, and fishing offers lifelong enjoyment that they can pass on to others. It’s easier for the students to say no as a group. Because of the enjoyment of the program and the pledge that the students have to make to stay off of drugs and alcohol, they start encouraging and helping each other. With fishing, all students are on the same plane. Anyone can fish. Sex, race, age and handicaps don’t interfere with a kid’s ability to fish and have fun. “Most important;”, says Jerry Grote, the program’s Co-chairman, “this program is interactive. Kids need and deserve attention from all of us. Values are learned through positive interaction with all members of society. We can affect their development and their lives by being good role models, good listeners, and good cheerleaders.” How can I get involved? According to Taylor, the following are things that everyone can do to help. *Call your school superintendent and encourage them to institute this program. *Support organizations like T.B.B.U. that works with kids and work with other programs. Like Get Hooked On Fishing-Not Drugs. *Take kids fishing as often as you can. *Contact Holt Taylor and Jerry Grote to offer your support in your area to become a program sponsor. You can write to Holt Taylor in care of: Taylor Communications Group, Inc. 7551 Callaghan Rd.,Suite 275 San Antonio, TX 78229 Or call (210) 340-4100

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