Youth Education Report

by Greg Kucharewski
(from Jersey Coast Anglers Association October 2019 Newsletter)
2019 JCAA Youth Education Award

Liz Jackson, NJ DEP Fish and Wildlife, was selected by the JCAA Youth Education Committee to receive the 2019 Youth Education Award. We received the following nomination from Sue Rothermel, New Jersey State Federation of Sportsmen Clubs.

“I am pleased to nominate Ms. Liz Jackson for your 2019 Youth Education Award. Liz is committed to promoting and creating the practices that contribute to a sustainable HOF-NOD program while making significant commitments to the Hooked on Fishing Not on Drugs program along with its program participants.

Liz Jackson reformed the HOF-NOD program from a one-day, one-shot fishing derby model of the past by seeking partnerships with youth organizations and individuals willing to create or enhance ongoing activities that involve learning to fish, appreciating aquatic and environmental resources, and developing positive life skills. These entities were directed to prove sustained engagement in HOFNOD content by submission of a calendar or schedule that illustrated their program offering (where, when, what and how). She required teams to organize their program with roughly 22 to 24 contact sessions with participating youth, where each course was not less than 1.5 hours per session. Each group was encouraged to include multiple all-day field trips, webinars, and guest-speaker events.

She transformed each team on a case-by-case basis to allow the program to be readily integrated into their setting or situation. Program settings include curricular integration with middle schools and high schools, school-based extracurricular activity, content for afterschool programs, supplemental units for a summer day and sleep-over camps, community-based non-school activity in partnership with not-for-profits or NGOs, and county-based youth development club within the Rutgers’ Cooperative Extension 4H model.

Liz takes it upon herself to provide exceptional support and service to new instructor groups; She discerns quickly their individual needs and moves efficiently to provide essential information, recommendations, or direction. Liz is a beautiful ambassador for our State…in assisting teams, instructors, and students as they navigate the HOF-NOD program.

Liz is always willing to pitch in for the good of the program. She has made a difference in our Statewide HOF-NOD program and has positively impacted the program participants of our state. Her skills, knowledge, willingness to help others, and dedication to Hooked On Fishing Not on Drugs make her the Excellence candidate for the 2019 JCAA Youth Education Award.”

NJ Free Fishing Day/NJ HOFNOD

The next free freshwater fishing day in New Jersey will be Saturday, October 19, 2019. You will not need a license to try freshwater fishing. There is also a beginner fishing basics workshop at the Pequest Trout Hatchery.

HOF Dash Challenge & Jamboree will be held October 11-13, 2019 at Pequest Trout Hatchery. Activities include: lots of fishing and Fish-Off by the inch; obstacle challenge; archery & Shoot-Off; Saturday eve BBQ; camping; hiking; NJ Astrological Society presentation; performance by NJ Shout Down Drugs! winner(s); night game and bonfire.

Become a NJ HOFNOD certified volunteer. For more information about training sessions, please contact: Liz Jackson, NJ HOFNOD Coordinator, will host upcoming instructor training sessions.

If you would like to volunteer time with a NJ HOFNOD program near you and become a certified NJ HOFNOD instructor, please contact Liz Jackson, NJ DEP Division of Fish & Wildlife, Hooked on Fishing- Not on Drugs, 605 Pequest Road, Oxford, NJ 07683, 908-637-4125 x122.

Visit the NJ HOFNOD website to view their website and Leader groups.

Brick High School’s NJ HOFNOD

Hey kids, it’s time to get ready for the New Jersey Beach Buggy Association’s Twenty-sixth Annual Surf Youth Fishing Tournament. It will be held on Saturday, September 14, 2019. NJBBA members do a great job of making children and their families have a fun day fishing the surf at Island Beach State Park. There is always lots of prizes, goodie bags, learning stations, and plenty of how-to information booths about surf fishing and water safety. The tournament is FREE to youngsters under 16 years old. For Information about the event contact Chairman Ken Hollins at or visit the NJBBA website.

Brick High School Fishing Club (BHSFC) traveled to Riverfront Park, Point Pleasant on the school bus for their first fishing outing on September 12. Students from grades 11 – 12 collected bait by seining and used fresh bait to catch snapper blues. Tim Brennan, Health & Physical Education Teacher and NJ HOFNOD certified instructor, taught students casting techniques, knot tying, and how to make rigs.

Local beachgoers commented what a good idea it was to teach youngsters about fishing and conservation. I witnessed students picking up beach trash when they returned to the rally area. Mr. Brennan is doing a good job of instructing students about protecting the environment. View the BHSFC NJ HOFNOD Facebook page to see their progress.

BHSFC setting up rods and reels for their class. BHSFC setting up rods and reels for their class.
People with Disabilities Outing

Newark Bait and Fly Casting Club held their fishing outing for People with Disabilities at Echo Lake in Mountainside, N. J. on September 21, 2019 in conjunction with the Union County Parks and Recreation Department which is also sponsored by the Tedesco Group. All participants had a great time, enjoyed lunch, received plenty of prizes, and had fun catching fish. Please view the NB&FCC website for photos and more information about the event.

NJ HOFNOD USS Battleship New Jersey

Central Jersey Code Official Association along with the International Code Council and Camden County co-hosted the event. NJ HOFNOD Leaders and members of the New Jersey Beach Buggy Association taught children about knot tying and assisted with fishing tips. Fishing equipment is being collected to be distributed to youngsters in the area so they will have their own fishing equipment to use when they go fishing.

Organizers would like to make this a yearly event on the USS Battleship New Jersey. The program will tie in with the NJ “Hooked on Fishing not on Drugs” program to bring awareness about the Opioids Epidemic in this country.

Paul Harris NJBBA discussing rod and reel bascis. Paul Harris NJBBA discussing rod and reel bascis.
NJBBA Children’s Surf Fishing

Boys and Girls that fished the 26th Annual NJBBA Children`s Surf Fishing Tournament, held on September 14, 2019 at Island Beach State Park, had loads of fun and won plenty of prizes. The kids pulled in 95 fish in a 3-hour time period. Fourteen - trophies, 9 10-foot surf rod/reel combos and 14 gift cards were handed out to the winners. The young surf anglers went home with t-shirts, goodie bags, and prizes of their choice from the 162 that were available for the taking. Chairman Ken Hollins always does a great job of promoting the event and organizing volunteers. Kids are already looking forward to the 27th Annual Children’s Surf Fishing event.

Catching Smiles

On Saturday, September 28, 2019 over 200 attendees enjoyed a day to help special needs children and their siblings learn the joy of fishing at Lake Julianna. “Making Smiles” was the theme for children with special needs that attended the 3rd Annual “Kids Wish’n to go Fish’n” Outdoor Fun Day on the Ponderosa Estates Farm, Millstone Township, NJ. The goal of the fishing and outdoor fun day is to provide a psychological boost for special needs children and to relax at a beautiful private lake with their family caregivers.

Once again, Mr. Vito Cardinale, along with his family and friends opened their environmental welcome mat to Lake Julianna and provided plenty of food and fun surprises for everyone to enjoy. They made sure youngsters had time to experience lake fishing, hayrides, fly casting, pumpkin picking, and environmental games by JCAA and NJ HOFNOD / Boating Education and Rescue. Members of Mr. Cardinale’s team cooked and served food for everyone. Pizza, hamburgers, hotdogs, salad, cookies, cakes, and drinks were flying off the table as quick as they were making the food. Crystal at the food table stated the following about the event: “This is such a great experience for the kids. I love to see the excitement on their faces with a new found confidence that lessens the disability and creates new abilities.”

New Jersey State Police provided an awesome airboat for kids to view and explore. Youngsters asked a lot of questions about how the airboat operates and Troopers loaded the kids up with NJSP promotional items as they answered questions.

Volunteers from various fishing clubs came out to help along with local merchants, veteran organizations and contributors that provided prizes, ice cream, food, bait, first aid, and tee shirts.

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