Today was a busy day for Pemi TU. We had 3 volunteers at a youth fishing derby in Lincoln NH. We also had members in Waterville Valley teaching session 3 of a 4 session class we call FUNdamentals of Fly Fishing. Lyn, a trained instructor for the NH Fish & Game (F&G) program called "Let's Go Fishing" (LGF) worked in Lincoln today. Here's an email that she wrote to the Waterville contingent:
Just left the Lincoln/Woodstock Derby. On the way home, notice young man pushing an old motorcycle up Rt 3 in Woodstock NH. Stopped and found he needed gas. I live 1/2 mile from his breakdown, so went to get home jug of gas for him. Before leaving he asked if I was with F&G (must be the khaki attire I was wearing.) "No… .I am with LGF program." He said his wife was taking a class at Waterville today. Her name is Erika. :)
The moral of the story….. never 6 degrees of separation! What a small world!
BTW….. I won the 50/50. Donated all proceeds back to the Lincoln/Woodstock Rec Center…..except for $20 I gave to ten year old returning derby assistant, Kris - quiet, kind, generous… he is an old soul in young body.
Kris returned this year as a volunteer with the Lincoln Rec Center Adventure Club. These are the 10-14 yr old participants of the summer rec program. One of their requirements is to perform a community service. Assisting the Pemi TU members at the derby is Kris's community service.
As last year, he was paired to assist me with calling in lengths to the leader board.
Before the derby even began, he beamed as he informed me that he had recently acquired the (almost too small, gently used and washed, consignment store) green fly fishing vest that he donned. When I asked what was in the pockets, the sole possession that he proudly pulled out was one small bobber. I suspect that the family finances don't allow for extraneous things like fishing paraphernalia. He expressed that he loved to fish, but didnt have as many opportunities to do so as he would like. I asked him if he would love to be fishing at the derby, and he wistfully expressed that he wished he could.
Early in the derby a young boy was distraught because he had lost his bobber on a snagged line. Kris didnt think twice, he reached into his tiny pocket and gave the only possession of his fly vest. His face sunk a little later when that child apologized for losing Kris's bobber - again on a snagged line. Kris never complained or whined- just quietly said "thats ok."
Last year Kris was given $2 from his mother to buy lunch. The lunch was free, yet Kris put the $2 in the donation bucket.
I am still kicking myself when I revived and released the couple of 10-11" brookies that some of the participants caught. I realized too late that Kris sure would have liked to keep one of those to take home. By the time I realized it, I told him if one more person caught, then we would keep it for him to take home. He was sincere when he inquired how to divide the one fish to feed three - himself, mother and father. This kid is no "Eddie Haskell" (see "Leave it to Beaver")…. he is the real deal! You sense by now that my heart was melting all over the place! Unfortunately no one on my side of the pond caught anything further.
He listened with interest when I explained some of the good things that Trout Unlimited does to preserve the integrity of the waters that trout reside in. I explained why it was important to revive a fish properly to assure it would live after catch and release. I expressed how I love the whole experience- not just the "catching" part of fishing- the peace and beauty of all things outdoors. Taught him and explained the ol' phrase of "thats why they call it fishing, not catching!"
I relayed the above to Dave Pushee. He gave Kris a Pemi sticker, patch and TU literature. Kris was "over the moon" to be an honorary member of Pemi TU! When his mom came to pick him up, she said he liked to sew, and was quite capable of sewing the patch on his fly fishing vest by himself; and Kris conveyed that he planned to do just that.
Thought I would share this little vignette of a few hours representing Pemi TU. Just a little good karma to enrich my life! Thanks for the opportunity!