"Kenai River Salmon Adventure" gave Boys & Girls Club members a chance to catch their first fish.a'
U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski was on the Peninsula last week “Casting For Kids,” during the first “Kenai River Salmon Adventure” sponsored by the Kenai River Sportfishing Association (KRSA) and the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Kenai Peninsula. The purpose of the event according to KRSA executive director Ricky Gease was to offer Alaska’s diverse youth the opportunity to experience the thrill of catching their first fish. “We want to open an avenue for these kids to have a life long experience of catching their first fish on the River as well as incorporating an important educational component about fish habitat and the river during the day of activities,” said Gease. “The kids that qualified had to go through a boating safety course last month and a presentation on the salmon life cycle. Many of these kids were also part of project protect earlier this year which was aimed at cleaning the Kenai River,” said Brenda Alberg, director of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Kenai Peninsula.
The 40 some participants ranging from 8 to 11 years of age first got to meet Senator Lisa Murkowski and hear her personal fish story about the 65 pound King Salmon she caught during this year’s Kenai River Classic, “That picture of me and my fish has gone all over the world and you know I’ve actually heard from a lot of people that don’t believe it was a real fish, but it was and your about to go fishing on the same river where I caught it,” said Murkowski. The kids also had a chance to ask questions of their Senator about her work in Washington D.C.
On a post card perfect day the kids then burned off some energy playing traditional sack races and ring toss games supervised by B&G Club volunteers. Before launching onto the river with a flotilla of professional guides, everyone was treated to a barbeque lunch at the Harry Gaines Fish Camp compliments of Coca-Cola and a “Casting For Kids” event t-shirt provided by Soldotna Professional Pharmacy.
“Sometimes those of us who have had the opportunity to fish the River and spend time on the Kenai tend to take it for granted and think that everybody is able to get out and go fishing, but the reality is that a lot of our children are not able to get out on the river for one reason or another. So working together with the Boys & Girls Clubs and the Kenai River Sportfishing Association we were able to get 40 kids out on the river today with professional guides and it was exciting seeing some of them catch a fish for the first time,” said Murkowski.
After the kids returned from their successful adventure they were asked if after river adventure if they thought it was important to preserve it for others, “Most definitely!” Tommy and his three companions replied in unison. “We have to care for the Kenai and we do that by careful use of it, and I believe all these kids saw today that if they want to continue fishing of this great river that we need to manage it and be proper stewards of it, I think they learned a lot today,” said Murkowski. According to Murkowski and event organizers the Kenai River Salmon Adventure will become a yearly event, “We’re working on it already with the Kenai River Sportfishing Association and the Boys & Girls Clubs we’re going to make it happen so we can get more kids on the river to enjoy a perfect day and an exciting adventure like this,” said Murkowski.
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