My home Optimist Club in Jerome, Idaho hosts a special needs fishing derby every year. It is scheduled on a school day so that transportation can be provided by the school district. With it being a weekday and several hours away from where I work, I usually don't get to attend; but I am so appreciative of my friends, loyal Optimist Club members, and the community for stepping up to this important and empowering activity.
The pictures always show the pure joy, wonder, and accomplishment of the fishermen and women and I get a little giddy in their happiness.
Today, on Father's Day, Steve Skodak, Executive Director of the Optimist International Foundation shared his own fishing story via a newsletter to Optimist Club members and Optimist International Foundation donors. Father's Day seems like a perfect time to share a fishing story; don't you agree?
My heart was warmed even more to see his fishing story was about a special needs fishing derby with his home club in St. Charles, Missouri. Unlike me, he was able to attend and he snapped this great picture of his fishing buddy for the day, Alex.
Steve explained in his note that the local Optimist Club provided baited poles, angling lessons, buddies to fish with, and lunch. There were awards for the biggest fish, smallest fish, and most fish caught, among other things. Steve wrote, "Everyone went home with a medallion around their neck, a full tummy and memories of the 'big one' that got away."
But it's his next line that makes every Optimist Club member do what they do time and again. Steve reported, "Each of us went away with something more amazing than a trophy or medallion. Remembering Alex’s face as he reeled in a fish will make me grin for some time."
Steve, thanks for sharing your optimism and your story. It made me grin too and I hazard to guess that it will make others grin as well.
Photo courtesy of Steve Skodak.