Flint, Mich.—The opening day of the Flint Area Get Youth Outdoors, Saturday, June 10, drew more than 90 eager and excited youth, along with their parents or guardians, to the Bluegill Boat Launch on Mott Lake near Flint, Michigan.
Organized by Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA), United Auto Workers Local 659 and Genesee County Parks and Recreation Commission (GCPRC), in association with Skuta Outdoor Alliance, Flint River Watershed Coalition, Pheasants Forever and National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) , the free community event offered kids and adults alike a hands-on learning experience in fishing, BB shooting, kayaking, dog training, wild turkey calls and more during the free community event.
“It was an amazing day,” says Duane Ballard, Financial Secretary for Local 659 and Coordinator of the Flint Area Youth Outdoor Day. “For a first-time event, we had a fantastic turnout and incredible help from our group of volunteers.”
Admission to the park and parking lot was free, he adds, and each child received a free rod and reel, courtesy of the US. They then learned how to cast a line and land panfish from the lake shoreline from 24 members of the UAW Local 659 and various members of his family who donated their time and skills to train the young fishermen.
“Duane, along with the staff at Genesee County Parks, did an amazing job organizing so many activities for the kids,” says Sam Phipps, US Conservation Programs Manager. firearms, fired BB guns and witnessed trained hunting dogs in action with the Pheasants Forever organization. They learned to paddle a kayak from the folks at the Flint River Basin Coalition and were introduced to wild turkey behavior and vocalization from the folks at the NWTF. They even learned a thing or two about conservation and the game of soccer from former pro player and USA member Dan Skuta and the Skuta Outdoor Alliance.”
Through the US Work Boots on the Ground conservation program, union members and affiliate volunteers donated 248 hours of their time to help Flint-area children learn to appreciate the outdoors and activities outdoors during Get Youth Outdoors Day.
“It was a phenomenal event,” says Nicole Ferguson, GCPRC Park Naturalist Director, “and very well run by the US and the UAW. All the volunteers who attended were excited and eager to get involved and do whatever it took. And the people who came to participate were impressed with all the new things that were offered. Our regular visitors were impressed, and many newcomers to the park said they hope to return.”
The Flint Area Youth Outdoors Day was part of a series of free community events, organized through the US Work Boots on the Ground program with the support of US national partners Provost Umphrey Law Firm, Union Plus, and Humana, as well as partners UIG, ULLICO, Bank of Labor, AFL-CIO Investment Trust Corporation, and Buck Knives.
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 enhance 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.