Northern Wisconsin will soon welcome the addition of “Let’s Go Fishing,” a Minnesota-based, non-profit organization that specializes in touching lives and impacting the community through fishing and boating excursions for seniors, youth and veterans. Since 2002, the organization has opened 28 chapters throughout Minnesota with more than 70,000 individuals served and 2,100 volunteers putting in more than 29,000 hours. Holiday Acres Resort owner Kari Zambon came across the idea of implementing a local chapter after her husband Kim, attended a meeting featuring “Let’s Go Fishing” executive director Joe Holm. “We’re excited to be able to introduce such an incredible organization to our community,” said Kari.
Both Kari and her husband anticipate that the LGF organization will be widely received in the area, as it is the first organization of its kind in Rhinelander. “We believe that the success of this organization will come from the fact that the Northwoods has such a large audience of senior citizens who may still be active in many ways, but either don’t have the mobility or the physical means for an afternoon on the water,” Kari said. “It isn’t even about the fishing…just to have the opportunity to be out on the water and feel that liberty gives our senior community a sense of well-being.”
Many local organizations, including the Department of Aging and the Oneida County Senior Center, have agreed to partner with the Zambons in efforts to fundraise and involve community members with the organization, which has an anticipated starting date of spring/summer 2013.
Although the preparation of expanding this organization locally is still underway, Zambons have recently received exciting news that if the community can raise $25,000 in funds, LGF will match the donation amount, which will aid in the funding for equipment, insurance and media promotion within the Northwoods area. The docking location hasn’t been established yet, but the chapter is considering Boom Lake as a potential location for a permanent boat lift to be installed.
Reservations will be made on an appointment basis primarily through the Department on Aging and Oneida County Senior Center. While the Northwoods-based chapter will focus primarily on senior citizens, participants will also include disadvantaged youth, disabled persons and veterans. Kari said “In keeping with Minnesota’s focus, we’ll be working primarily with seniors; however, we believe the benefits of this program reach much farther. Participants of all ages and walks of life will be able to learn life lessons, including how to prevent bullying and positive mentoring skills for our local youth.”
The Zambons are hopeful that the introduction of the first Wisconsin-based chapter here will pave the way for other areas in the state to open local chapters. “Manitowish Waters has already expressed interest in introducing an organization in their area and will be using Rhinelander’s chapter to gauge the success of this program” said Kari, noting that all 28 chapters in Minnesota have been under the same leadership and have all proven great success, both in community involvement and citizens served.
LGF executive director Joe Holm and the Zambons will be hosting an open reception at 5 p.m. at Holiday Acres Resort on Jan. 30 for all who are interested in LGF or who would like to volunteer for the local chapter. For details, call Kari Zambon at (715) 360-1753 or visit lgfws.com/ for more information about the organization.