Reel, experiential fun at Fishing for Special Needs

John MacGillis
Reel, experiential fun at Fishing for Special Needs
Geoffrey Legault holding one of the fish he caught in a photo provided by Mark Beehler.

CORNWALL, Ontario – Experienced anglers partnered up with individuals with special needs for a day of boating and fishing along the St. Lawrence River on Sunday, Aug. 11, enjoying a one-on-one adventure on the water.

Fishing for Special Needs saw an attendances of about 25 community members alongside several volunteers, according to Art Levert, Director of the Include Program. Volunteers and participants fished from boats and the water’s edge to provide a safe space to try out fishing.

“Being one-on-one, for both safety and creating a quality experience, is the most important (aspect) to our program,” said Levert.

Providing people with special needs an opportunity to try different activities that focus on engagement and experiential learning has been one of the Include Program’s Goals, according to Levert.

“Fishing for Special Needs began after I took one of my more challenging clients out fishing and I figured, if I could go out fishing with him for a couple hours, we can grand scale this,” said Levert.

Levert said that the number of generous volunteers is what truly makes the event a reel success every year, keeping everything afloat.

“We had a lot of folks have a lot of success catching some fish today, and it really couldn’t happen without so many people giving up their time, their boats and their gas, to give our friends this opportunity,” said Levert gratefully.

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