"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."
Granted, preventing starvation was not the primary focus of Kids Fish Free Day on the Clinch River, but the event did expose some children to a sport that may become a lifelong activity.
CNS co-sponsored the Trout Unlimited Clinch River Chapter's Kids Fish Free Day with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, the Tennessee Valley Authority, Towee Boats, Eckert Chiropractic Center and Anderson County Visions Magazine. Some employees also volunteered for the event, which was co-chaired by the Y-12 National Security Complex's Denise Jenkins, who is on the board of the Clinch River Chapter.
Sharing her passion excites Jenkins. "Being outdoors in the fresh air, wading into the river and casting a line into the flowing river just made me think that this should be something that families should do with their kids, which is how I came to be involved with Kids Fish Free Day," she said. She also rounded up dozens of volunteers to support the day, including Mission Engineering's Andy Akin.
"I was glad to help out," Akin said. "Events like this are necessary because they raise awareness of the importance of maintaining the health of Tennessee's lakes and rivers and help spread the skills and fun of fishing to the next generation."
More than 70 children learned how to tie flies, cast a rod and contribute to river preservation, including Clara, Shollie and Ella, daughters of Y-12's Patrick Thomas. Thomas said, "The Clinch River arguably offers some of the best fly fishing in the nation, and CNS's support of the Trout Unlimited free fishing day supports the local community through education about healthy outdoor activities and reflects CNS's ecological conservation efforts."
Thomas says his children continued to talk about the trip. "All are very excited about continuing to learn about fly fishing and are especially excited about using the flies they made to catch fish."
Jenkins, Akin and Thomas acknowledged that the day was made possible, in part, because of the CNS grant. "The Clinch River arguably offers some of the best fly fishing in the nation, and CNS's support of the Trout Unlimited free fishing day supports the local community through education about healthy outdoor activities and reflects CNS's ecological conservation efforts," Thomas said.