We get invited to participate in many events, but unfortunately due to time commitments (and this thing called “school”) we have to limit the number we can attend. This past Friday, Kid In Outdoors was invited to join the 41st Annual Walter Burns Memorial Fishing Day in Greenland, NH and after learning more about the organization, there was no way we were going to miss this incredibly special event.
Approximately 150 children with special needs were invited to a private pond for an amazing day of games and fishing. My mom and I got there around 8:30 am and helped set up some of the stations, but basically waited for the fun to begin. It was a chilly morning and I wore shorts – maybe a mistake! I waited for the sun to warm things up.
Buses started arriving around 9 am and kids of all ages and with many different needs and disabilities began chatting with us. We started the day at the casting contest station, and a boy name Dillon stepped up to try his luck. Wow, did he let the plug sail! He had the team searching the field for where it landed and I think he ended up in the 120′ range. Impressive! Andrew did well and was very accurate after practicing off to the side for awhile – his cast was straight as an arrow. Chris was just funny – talking to us and showing enthusiasm all around. There was a steady stream of kids wanting to try their luck at casting the furthest!
Then the bell rang to officially kick off fishing. The pond had recently been stocked with fish – trout, I believe – and everyone wanted to wet a line and get a lunker! Hundreds of people lined the bank of the pond: volunteers, teachers, and participants. It was a beautiful day and the kids were having a blast.
But it wasn’t catching a fish or winning a contest that made these kids – and this event – special for me. It was their pure joy. This truly was an amazing day for them. I see so many kids who complain that they can’t use their phones or they’d rather be doing something else on our nature field trips – not these kids! They threw themselves into it 110%.
Many kids have come for years and look forward to the day. I overheard a girl about my age say, “This is the best day of the year!” The volunteers told a story of how a participant slipped on the banking last year and fell into the water, and when they pulled her out she was laughing and giggling and having the time of her life.
So it doesn’t matter if you are developmentally disabled, in a wheelchair, if you have physical challenges or if you need special assistance – what the Walter Burns Memorial Fishing Day showed me is how appreciative and fun and joyful this amazing group of kids is and I can’t wait to spend more time with them in the future. They enjoy the outdoors – like me!