Youth Essay Contest Winner
Wyatt Kauth, Oostburg, Wis., 11th grade
Even before I could tie my own shoes, I loved fishing. The one by my side teaching me and instilling the love of fishing was my father. He was the most important person in my life not only because he was showing me the outdoors and captivating me with these amazing stories of fish as big as me and how he caught them, but because he was my dad.
For as long as I can remember, he was taking me to preschool, McDonalds, or to shoot archery. He taught me everything that he could before he passed. I was 7-years-old when I had to say goodbye to him. From that moment forward I knew that he did everything that he did for a reason. He wanted me to have something to hold onto him, and that something was the outdoors. He made me the person I am today by showing me how to find myself in the outdoors.
When I go fishing, hunting or even just for a walk in the woods I can feel just that little bit closer to him. It is difficult sometimes but when I am feeling down, I go into the woods or by the water and I can feel myself drift away. I like to think that everyone has that one special thing that they just drift away in. For some it’s music or running or maybe even cooking. For me that special thing is fishing.
In that special zone I am not worried about what happened yesterday, I’m not anticipating what comes tomorrow, I am focusing on the constant flow of the water and what lies beneath it. It’s just me and my line, that’s all that I have to worry about.
I will always remember the adrenaline rush from hooking a trout for the very first time. It was my first time fly fishing, I wasn’t great at it but I understood enough to get my fly out there and near the fish. It was just a matter of time and soon enough a fish grabbed it. I picked up the slack and lifted my rod, I could feel the trout through the line. I could feel every movement that the fish made. I will never forget that, I will do whatever it takes to get more people to feel what fly fishing really is all about.
Green spaces allow the opportunity to experience the outdoors not only for me but for the generations to come. They have been providing young men and women like me with these opportunities to get hooked on fishing for decades. They keep this art alive and that is why it pains me to see them in shambles.
People disrespect these spaces because they don’t recognize what they have until they have lost it. Littering, illegal dumping, disrespecting the land, these are all things that I see people doing to these spaces. To those few that clean up the other people’s messes and treat these spaces with the respect that they deserve, Thank You.
Before there were vast cities and endless roads there were massive forests and beautiful winding streams. That doesn’t have to be stuck in the past. If everyone takes even the smallest effort to clean up their mess and better these spaces, we can have them for the generations to come. Thank you for doing your part and preserving these spaces and the beautiful animals that live in them. I greatly appreciate the opportunity that you have given me to share my story and I anticipate hearing the stories from my fellow anglers.