Youth Education Report

by Greg Kucharewski
(from Jersey Coast Anglers Association December 2017 Newsletter)
2017 JCAA Youth Education Award

This year the New Jersey State Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs received the 2017 Youth Education Award at the JCAA Sportsperson of the Year Dinner. We appreciate all the hard work that the members of NJSFC do to teach our young people about NJ HOFNOD, conservation and protecting the environment. Jerry Natale accepting the award on behalf of Federation President Ray Szpond stated; the goal of the NJSFSC is to get youngsters into the woods and waters, away from troublesome peers that can steer them towards a nonproductive future. By organizing fishing derbies, youth pheasant hunts and activities at wildlife management areas, the Federation makes it a priority to get kids involved in the outdoors.

Joining Jerry at the award podium was Northern Region John Rogalo, Central Region Dave McCready, Southern Regional President Tom Weeast was not able to attend and Frank Virigilo who was instrumental in creating policy for the NJ HOFNOD bill was present to accept the award.

By working together with the Federation’s twenty county chapters and under the leadership of their three regional vice-presidents the success of their program will only continue to grow.

Jerry Natale, NJSFSC Treasurer, accepting the Youth Education Award
Jerry Natale, NJSFSC Treasurer, accepting the Youth Education Award for the NJ State Federation of Sportsmen Clubs membership.

New Jersey DEP Division of Fish and Wildlife’s NJ Hooked on Fishing-Not on Drugs (HOFNOD) training sessions will start again in 2018. Please check their website and stop by their booth at upcoming outdoor shows to learn how you can become a certified NJ HOFNOD instructor.

The Jersey Coast Anglers Association will provide training funds for upcoming NJ HOFNOD workshops. You must be a member of JCAA to receive training funds. To receive an application from the JCAA Youth Education Committee, email:

NJ HOFNOD is coordinated by Liz Jackson, HOFNOD Coordinator DEP Fish & Wildlife. Please contact Liz to learn more about the benefits of becoming a NJ HOFNOD instructor. 908-637-4125 x122 or e-mail at

Charter fishing on the Bonanza II
Charter fishing on the Bonanza II with NJ HOFNOD teams from Sussex, Union, Cumberland and Passaic counties.
Jersey Shore Surfcasters

On Tuesday, November 7th we presented a program at the Jersey Shore Surfcasters monthly meeting at the Knights of Columbus located in Brick, NJ. We were invited to speak about Play HOOK-e from PTSD and NJ HOFNOD. We explained how NJ Hooked on Fishing not on Drugs ties in with the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 12 “Play HOOK-e from PTSD program for veterans.

The two programs complement each other. Veterans that complete NJ HOFNOD certified training work within their community to teach youngsters about fishing. Veterans also help volunteer at youth fishing events and it gives them an opportunity to redirect their thoughts away from PTSD symptoms. Youngsters learn fishing skills and make veterans feel good about being part of the community.

We thank the membership of the Jersey Shore Surfcasters for their generous donation to the veteran and youth fishing programs. We appreciate the support of the Jersey Shore Surfcasters and plan to use the funds to help veterans connect with the outdoors and teach youngsters fishing skills.

Veteran’s “Playing Hook-E” at LZ 64

During November, we presented a “Play HOOK-e” from PTSD Surf Fishing Striped Bass workshop on the beach at Spring Lake. Veterans without surf fishing equipment were able to use loaner rods and reels. Bait, rigs, and fishing tackle was provided by the Vietnam Veterans of America magnet campaign and JCAA Youth Education Committee lending library.

On November 14th veterans and family members attended our Play HOOK-e from PTSD at LZ 64 Monmouth Jet Center, Wall Township, NJ.

The goal of the program was to introduce veterans to outdoor activities, connect with other veterans, and participate in learning about outdoor activities that are available to veterans for free.

Dan Brown, Rich Thomas and employees of Monmouth Jet Center welcomed veterans to LZ-64 and invited veterans to visit table-top displays that offer the following: Aviation - RC Control and Model Building group, Boating Education and Rescue, Archery, Boating and Fishing, Heroes on the Water, M2 Deuce Deuce “Ruck It”, Operation Beachhead, Peaceful Warrior Meditation - John Sullivan Group, Project Healing Water Fly Fishing Jersey Shore Chapter, Scuba Treasures by Kevin Schuerman, Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 12, and Warhorse Scuba.

Music was provided by the Down Range Band from the Vet Center in Lakewood, NJ and it was GREAT to hear their renditions of oldies from our younger days.

We appreciate all the Monmouth Jet Center staff did to make this happen and the Brick Honor Society Volunteers for their hard work and very tasty cookies. We also thank Cus and Nancy from the Elks Veteran Service Unit for contributing the pizza for the evening and Billy Williams for supplying the donuts.

Please encourage young veterans that you know to join us and help plan our upcoming outdoor schedule.

Debbie Bennett and David Mormack
Debbie Bennett, B.E.A.R. and David Mormack, Heros on the Water discuss programs for children and veterans.
[News Contents] [Top]