For more than 30 years, local law enforcement officers have connected with young kids through fishing.
And it serves more of a purpose than just a day out on the water. Shelby Rose brings us the story in this week’s positively North Dakota.
Props in and poles casted out ,a few dozen kids tested out their fishing skills on Harmon lake Wednesday morning. Alongside those who protect them on the streets every day.
Teresa Carrigan with the Youth Police Bureau said, “Officers come and donate their time and they bring their boats. Kids, no matter what, always have a fun time”
The Cops and Kids Fishing Tournament was started in the 1970s by a few Bismarck Police officers and Burleigh County Sheriff’s deputies. It has grown every year – and is wildly popular with those participating.
Participant Trayson Bleth said, “You get to fish, and some kids have never done it before, and you can make new friends.”
New friends like Wyatt, who until this moment, has never touched a fishing pole.
“I think it will be fun, and it has police officers in it and I’ll probably have good luck,” said Wyatt Himmelspach. And he was right. In an hour and a half, Wyatt caught 11 fish.
Bismarck Police Sergeant Timothy Bleth said, “When we have kids that have never caught a fish ever in their life, and that first time they bring it up, the light in their eyes. That’s what makes everything worth it.”
The main goal of the tournament is to reach out to at-risk youth. Those who have been through the system in one way or another.
“When they get to know them on a level that is not professional where they’re not running into them because they’re getting in trouble or doing something. They’re learning they’re real people and they can be trusted,” said Carrigan.
And when I asked Wyatt what his secret is to catch so many fish, the answer was simple.
He said, “Worms… just worms.”
The tournament is free to attend for every child participating.