“My dream would be to catch a humungous bass and win the whole tournament!” giggled 8-year-old Lauren McCaslin, a recent graduate of the rowdy-style 2-hour Go Fish Girls! Girl Scout Fishing Patch Program. To celebrate girls and fishing the Shreveport, Louisiana Cross Lake Fish Hatchery will be host to 40 Pines to Gulf Louisiana Girl Scouts as they complete the Go Fish Girls! Fishing Patch Program and earn their own fishing gear and receive and official Go Fish Girls! Graduate fishing patch this weekend.
Like a basketball to the basketball player “girls can’t repeat the sport of fishing if they aren’t taught how to fish and have their own fishing gear. Teaching and equipping the girls through our program is what empowers them to want to go fishing again and again.” states founder Angie Michaels. The idea for the Go Fish Girls! program began when Michaels discovered that there was not a fishing merit badge or patch that could be earned by the Girl Scouts. Michaels, owner of FishHer – Fishing Gear For Women fulfilled part of her mission statement, which was to “equip, empower and educate women and girls in the sport of fishing” by developing the Go Fish Girls! Girl Scout Fishing Patch Program.
With help from the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation’s Youth Fishing Initiative grant and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission over 1,000 girls and 250 leaders were taught how to fish last year in the pilot-program state of Nebraska. “This program is hugely successful because of the rowdy non-intimidating way we teach the girls how to fish.” said Michaels. “We yell FISH ON! when we catch a fish and their Scout friends reply with the rally yell “Woo Hoo”. We like to say we put the FUN in fishing FUNdamentals. The program teaches the girls how to fishing safety, fish identification, bait selection, how to cast, catch and release and ends with a shore-line clean up which encourages the girls to take ownership in land and water conservation and stewardship. Her goal is to take the program to 5 additional states this year, and go National with it within the next five years.
On February 21st from 9 – 11 am the program will be taught to 40 Pines to Gulf Louisiana Girl Scouts as fishing is being celebrated during the ESPN Bassmaster Classic events that weekend. Since announcing the event the CCA Louisiana, Louisiana Fisheries Department, Recycled Fish and tackleInteractivce.com have stepped up to help sponsor this event by providing donations and volunteer fishing instruction.
There will be a lot of celebrating as the world watches Kim Bain, the first woman EVER fishing the Bassmaster Classic in its 41-year history. There will be a lot of celebrating at the Fish Hatchery too – as 40 Girl Scouts learn and graduate as a Go Fish Girl! Who knows…maybe one of these girls will go on to win the Classic one day. We sure hope so.
To find out more about the event or to become an event sponsor please call 402.290.7714 or visit www.GoFishGirls.org