By: Rick Kagawa, National Fishing Committee Chair
What makes fishing such a great outdoor activity?
Especially today, we are not fishing to feed our families. We fish for the challenge of fooling the fish into thinking we can imitate the natural environment and their prey. Many times, we catch and release the fish. We do this so we can keep a resource and possibly catch them when they have grown bigger.
Most times we go fishing not to catch fish but, to be outside many times sitting next to a beautiful mountain stream or rocking with the blue ocean. It is an activity that will transport us away from the stresses of everyday life and the only thing we can think about is concentrating on what we must do next to catch that fish.
The act of fishing drives us to want to preserve this experience for ourselves. In the long run, it makes us want to preserve it for future generations. From this, we learn about wildlife conservation. Fishing teaches us to care about things beyond ourselves.
The fact is that I would probably not be a Scout Leader without fishing.
My father was raised in a very poor part of Los Angeles from a poor Japanese immigrant family. The local Catholic Church had the best school in the area. My Grandparents valued education as the way out of poverty so my dad and his brother we enrolled in that school.
That school had a Boy Scout Troop. My father told me that his lifetime love of fishing came from learning to fish in Boy Scouts. He passed his love for fishing to me and enrolled me in Scouts as soon as I was old enough. I did the same thing when my son was old enough to be a Tiger Scout. My dad only became a Second Class Scout but he always lived by the Scout Oath and Law.
We, as Scout Leaders, have many opportunities to influence many generations ahead of us. It is why most of us are Scout Leaders. It would have to be obvious to you why, I have chosen fishing as my way of keeping Youth active in our movement. We all must have that special bait to keep and retain Youth. Therefore, fishing is my tool.