Earlington, KY. — More than 170 youth and their families attended the first Take Kids Fishing Day held at Lockmary Lake in Earlington City Park on May 20. Hosted by Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA), IUE-CWA Local 83701 and the City of Earlington, the free event was designed to get local youth outdoors and learn about the sport of fishing.
“The turnout was incredible, especially for a first-time event,” says union member Loman Scarbrough, event organizer and president of the Hopkins County Jocks and Sportsmen’s Club. “All the kids had a great time.”
The rain and cold weather in the days leading up to the event were just in time to ensure a pleasurable experience for budding anglers, he added. “About half an hour after the rain stopped, cars started flooding the park and people kept coming all morning.”
More than 30 members of Local 83701 were on hand to help the young fishermen set up fishing rods, hooks, and catch catfish, bass, and panfish from the lake. Overall, union members donated more than 500 hours of their time to plan and organize the event in Earlington.
The fishing was followed by a free lunch of hamburgers and hot dogs for the kids and their families, after which each participant took home a free rod and reel, courtesy of the USA.
Several city officials, including Mayor Albert Jackson, also helped, according to Scarbrough. “The city was 100 percent behind this event,” she says, “it’s something our area sorely needed.”
People in and around Earlington, who share a rich history of union coal mining, are still reeling from a devastating tornado that claimed lives and destroyed homes in late 2021, Scarbrough explained. “They are strong, loving and supportive of one another,” she says, “and Take Kids Fishing Day was a perfect opportunity for all of us to come together and put smiles on the kids’ faces.”
In recent months, Scarbrough and the city council had been discussing the possibilities for a new community event when he heard about the Take Kids Fishing USA program.
“I sat down with some of my union officials who showed me the USA website, and we explored all it has to offer: community events, conservation projects, dinners, and more,” he says. “They asked me to reach out for more details, so I got in touch first via Facebook and then called the US Conservation Coordinator, Cody Campbell. He sent information right away and then helped with the planning. It all came together in a couple of months; it was so easy.”
“Seeing a local union, like IUE-CWA 83701, organize their first community fishing event is exciting and moving,” says Campbell. “Not only does it give union members the chance to do something for their friends and neighbors, but more importantly, it gives young people the chance to experience outdoor recreation in a way they never have before. ”.
The Earlington event was part of a series of free Take Kids Fishing Day community events organized through the US Work Boots on the Ground program with support from US national partners Provost Umphrey Law Firm, Union Plus and Humana, as well as the foundation 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 www.unionsportsmen.org or connect on 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.