Class Fishing Trip- YAHOO!

Towards the end of the year, one of my second grade students asked me if we were going on a trip. Truth was, I didn't think so. Somehow we ended up with no transportation to the zoo or Seaworld or wherever it was, so it seemed hopeless. It then occurred to me- why not call Friends of Rollo?
Friends of Rollo http://www.friendsofrollo.com/ is a San Diego based non-profit group made up of bigwigs in the sport fishing industry that send kids on fishing trips. Not just any kids- kids who need a break, whether they be disabled, poor, or disadvantaged in some other significant way. As you may know, my students' dads- most of them Marines- are often in Iraq and Afghanistan on deployment. Their families have endured a lot of hardships since September 11. These families have done everything that they have been asked to do with no complaints. For the dads, that means dealing with multiple deployments to a war zone. For those left here in the US, that means being worried about their deployed family members, and for the kids, basically growing up in single parent households. Meanwhile, the wives have had to work ten times as hard to keep things going as smoothly as possible. In any case, yeah, these kids deserve a break! I put in a phone call to John Rowe, one of the people over at Friends of Rollo. It was totally last minute, and I wasn't expecting that we could get a trip, but sure enough, John emails me back, asking if the kids could launch out of Dana Point, with the Dana Wharf Sportfishing Company http://www.danawharfsportfishing.com/on the boat Clemente. Just like that, we had a free fishing trip for the while class- meals, bait, tackle, the whole 9 yards! Next I had to arrange for some people to help on board. The kids would need help baiting their hooks, and hopefully, fighting fish. A quick call to the Oceanside Senior Angler's Club netted us a hearty crew of gentlemen- old salts, really- that were eager to assist. Cut to the chase, we get down there, and the weather was just perfect. The Clemente's captain and crew immediately impressed me with the way they handled the students. By 10:00 we were on our way South towards the fishing grounds. We passed by many species of marine life that the kids were able to identify and discuss. We'd done a lot of research on the coastal environment, learning about the various types of animals that we might expect to run into. This made the experience very rich and rewarding- after all, it was a hands-on science lesson!
This post is too long already, and I think I'll be writing an article in a magazine soon about the whole experience, so let me just skim over some of my favorite moments. We tried for bass, and had no luck- actually, one kid caught a 5 inch sculpin. At that point I'm thinking, This is gonna be a long trip! The captain announced that we'd try to get into a semi-hot barracuda bite farther offshore, so that "every kid can catch one fish". That seemed to be a far-fetched goal. Guess what? It wasn't! We get out there and the bite goes wide open, and next thing I know, the kids are hooting, hollering, and grimacing as they battle the biggest monsters the ocean can dish out!
Total tally: for 18 kids, 20 BIG barracuda were caught. Barracuda are the perfect fish for these sized students, as they pull hard, but don't wage the type of protracted battle that would sap most kids' energy and patience. The trip was an unqualified success, and we owe it all to Friends of Rollo. I urge people who have an extra minute to visit their site and see what they're all about! http://www.friendsofrollo.com/

No comments: