[mks_pullquote align=”left” width=”600″ size=”14″ bg_color=”#003300″ txt_color=”#ffffff”]This is our first Making a Difference page in WildIndiana Magazine. From now on, every issue will highlight an individual or group that is working to help the environment, outdoor sports or kids in Indiana. If you would like to nominate a person or group for recognition, please contact us at Editor@WildIndiana.com [/mks_pullquote]
For nearly fifteen years the kids of Stueben and surrounding counties have had a hero working to insure that fishing has a bright future: April Perry.
She has made the annual Kids Fishing Tournament on Big Turkey Lake her passion, her way of giving back in honor of the time that grown-ups took with her to pass on their love of the outdoors, specifically angling. That gift of time and energy motivates April Perry to instill the same in today’s youth.
The 2015 tournament will be held over the 4th of July weekend. Since its inception, the tournament has grown in scope and reach. This year’s tournament hopes to serve well over 200 kids. This is no small undertaking when one considers that each child doesn’t only get to participate, but starts the day well equipped with a fishing rod and tackle box with much of the needed tackle included.
When asked what drives her to work so hard for her chosen cause, April states it bluntly, ”Just to see those kids, the way they have fun. I mean, if we don’t do this now, then what future do we have? This is not only the future of our sport, it is the future of our water, our environment” April dedicates countless hours throughout the entire year making sure the event is the best it can be.
That dedication was recognized in April at the 2015 Hoosier Outdoor Writers (HOW) Annual Conference held at Pokagon State Park. At the conference, April received the prestigious HOW Pass it On Award for her efforts to share her love of the outdoors with future generations.
It takes a small army of volunteers to pull off such a feat with local anglers donating boat time, organizational skills, and handy how-to pointers.
Donations are solicited and deals are struck for gear, but all this comes at a cost. Probably the dirtiest and most labor intensive part of the fundraising is the scrap drive. She tirelessly seeks out every piece of scrap metal she can find from every source imaginable to haul in for cash to help make it all happen. “It helps everyone. They get rid of things that are in the way and no longer needed, and we get much needed funds to put all this together for the kids,” adds April. “You have no idea what it takes to outfit two hundred kids!”
In recent years an archery element has even been added for the non-anglers. This year’s tournament hopes to serve well over 200 kids.
The future of fishing looks bright in Stueben County thanks to April. She is a prime example of someone who is truly Making A Difference.
Check out a few scenes from the 2014 Tournament (photos provided)