Local children get hooked on fishing

Thanks to some generous volunteers from Dataw Island Yacht Club, members of Boys & Girls Club of Beaufort got a chance to experience the joy of fishing.
The 5th Annual Dee Smith Memorial Fishing Day paired volunteers bearing rods and reels, Stenko lures and menhaden oil with 21 novice anglers anxious to test their skills. After a short course in safety and casting, the kids and their mentors hit the shores of the “Hardluck Ponds” of Dataw Island.

Boys & Girls Club member Jimiya Lawrence and volunteer Steve Peskoe proudly display a 3 pound bass.

Captain Lanny Kraus, a Dataw Island resident, retired veterinarian and professor, and charter captain has helped organize the event every year.
“We teach the kids how to fish using techniques that don’t require a high level of skill,” he said. “Today’s lesson really focused on how to use the tackle correctly.”
Several children learned the lesson well, with five or six large mouth bass brought to shore over the course of about two hours. The first-time anglers’ excitement, mixed with some trepidation, was apparent with each fish caught.
“Part of the Boys & Girls Club mission is to give our members an opportunity to participate in activities that can bring lifelong joy,” said Chris Protz, Chief Professional Officer of Boys & Girls Clubs of the Lowcountry.  “We appreciate the generosity and efforts of the Dataw Island Yacht Club in exposing our kids to an activity they may normally not get to experience.”
After fishing, the children were treated to lunch and got to keep their rods and reels.
The event is held annually and is named in memory of Dee Smith, who served for years as president of the board of Boys & Girls Club of Beaufort.

Meeting Summer Campaign Goals: Community leaders, an international entertainer, an out-of-town orthodontist, local board members,  individual donors and supporters have come together to raise money for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Beaufort Area’s $200,000 Summer Campaign. Since late-April, donors contributed more than $61,000; that’s more than 30% of the clubs’ $200,000 goal.
Chris Protz, executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Lowcountry, said the fundraising is combined with reducing expenses.  He said the Boys & Girls Club of Beaufort is hosting a seven-week summer program versus the usual nine-week program. One of the summer program’s main focuses is supporting the academic needs of the 6-12 year old club members to better prepare them for the next academic year.  The summer program has an enrollment range of 80-100 members per week.
Protz said the Board of Directors will be sending out its direct mail campaign to continue fundraising through individual donors.  “The Support A Child” Campaign will ask neighbors and businesses to sponsor a child for a year or for a program cycle.

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