Spring Hill, Tennessee.—Nearly 200 youth and their families attended San Antonio’s Woodlawn Lake Park Saturday for the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) 2North Dakota Annual fishing lines at christmas event.
The free community event was organized by the San Antonio Building and Construction Trades Council (BCTC) with support from the Priest Holmes Foundation and the NFLPA San Antonio/Austin Alumni Chapter. The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office was also on site with a security officer and a sheriff’s boat.
“I grew up outdoors, that’s how I raised my children. It’s such a crucial part of conservation, but there’s a clear disconnect between today’s kids and the great outdoors,” said San Antonio BCTC representative Shane Denn. “Anything we can do to get kids involved in nature is worth every penny. The other union volunteers and I had a great time, and I want to make this an annual event.”
Thirteen union volunteers representing the San Antonio BCTC, Electrical Workers Local 60, United Association Local 142, Insulators Local 87, Sheet Metal Workers Local 67, Roofers International and NFLPA San Antonio/Austin Former Players Chapter, donated their time to set up fishing poles and provide youth with instruction and assistance in baiting, casting, and landing fish.
“The event was extraordinary,” said Jordan “Gig” Ritenour, assistant to the international president of the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofing and Allied Workers. “We were able to interact with many different people. Many of the parents were learning while we were teaching the kids, and they were just as excited to get their hands on a fishing pole, many for the first time.”
Priest Holmes, a former NFL player and founder of the Priest Holmes Foundation, was proud to be a part of youth outreach in the city where he grew up.
“It is my passion to be able to use my professional career as a platform to connect with underserved communities,” Holmes said. “Fishing brings the experience of being outdoors while learning patience and a new life skill. It is a connection between me and the participating families as we create positive memories.”
Youth participants received a free fishing rod and reel to continue fishing for years to come. They also received gifted stuffed animals through the Priest Holmes Foundation’s partnership with PetSmart, with many winning additional prizes. Adding to the holiday spirit, Slingshot San Antonio brought out several vehicles decorated with holiday lights, including the San Antonio Spurs car, for families to take photos of. To cap off the morning of fishing, union volunteers prepared a picnic lunch for everyone, and PepsiCo provides chips and drinks.
“Getting families together outdoors, especially in urban areas, and giving them the knowledge and tools to do activities like fishing is very important to the future of our outdoor heritage,” said the US conservation coordinator. ., Cody Campbell. “We are proud to provide youth with these rewarding experiences and are extremely grateful to all union members and partners who make them possible.”
The event was part of a series of community-based Take Kids Fishing Day events sponsored by Humana organized under the US Work Boots on the Ground conservation program and supported by national partner Provost Umphrey Law Firm. , as well as US founding partners 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 Y 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.