Minneapolis unions hosted the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance ice fishing event on East Rush Lake on Saturday
Spring Hill, Tennessee.—Warm winter weather drew more than 100 youth and their families to East Rush Lake in Rush City, Minnesota, for the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) annual Take Kids Ice Fishing Day in the Minneapolis area on Saturday March 4.
Hosted by the Minneapolis Building and Construction Trades Council (BCTC), International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC) Local 9, and a coalition of additional labor unions and other supporters, the free event aimed to introduce the next generation of fishermen and conservationists to the pleasures of ice fishing.
“It was a great day on the lake, by far the best event we’ve ever had,” said Dave Morin, IUEC Local 9 officer and event organizer. “Every other year, we’ve had freezing rain, minus digits, six inches of snow, all but optimal conditions. This year we had beautiful weather, the kids caught a lot of fish, everyone won a prize, and there were tons of smiles.”
Morin’s favorite part of the event was watching a girl catch her first fish. She “she Was her showing everyone the hanger, kissing it and telling everyone that she wanted to put it on the wall. She was so proud,” she said.
Each young angler received a free fishing rod and reel to continue fishing in the future. Fifteen multi-trade union volunteers from the Minneapolis BCTC helped the boys get comfortable with their new equipment and helped set lines, replace hooks, drill new holes and have fun.
“My family and I have always had a passion for the outdoors, especially fishing, and being able to share that with young children at the event was amazing,” said IUEC Local 9 member and volunteer Isaac Stoe. Outdoors is becoming secondary for a lot of people, so the more we can get young people to enjoy Minnesota’s outdoor resources, the better.”
Between the optimal weather conditions and the good location of the fishing holes on the underwater structure, the children caught many fish. Stoe especially enjoyed teaching the participants how to use electronics.
“Most of the kids are used to wearing a bobber, so being able to see what was going on under the ice was a really cool experience for them and a very special one for me,” Stoe said.
The event in the Minneapolis area was part of a series of Take Kids Fishing Day community events organized through the US Work Boots on the Ground (WBG) conservation program. WBG organizes union volunteers to complete projects that improve public access to the outdoors, conserve wildlife habitat, restore America’s parks, and educate and engage youth in the outdoors.
Thanks to the support of local unions, USA, Flickabirds Resort, Thorne Bros Custom Rod and Tackle, Vados Bait & Tackle, Joe’s Sporting Goods, and Rush Lake Improvement Association, the event was completely free to attendees and each child won a prize. in the raffles that take place during lunch.
Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA): USA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to unions whose members hunt, fish, shoot, and volunteer their skills for conservation. America is uniting the union community through conservation to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage. For more information visit unionsportsmen.org or plug in Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Ground Work Boots (WBG): WBG is America’s flagship conservation program that brings together union members willing to volunteer their time and expertise for conservation projects that enhance and improve public access to the outdoors, conserve wildlife habitat, they restore America’s parks and mentor youth in the great outdoors. The US Work Boots on the Ground program works closely with federal, state and local agencies and other conservation groups to provide the labor needed to complete critical projects that might otherwise go undone.