Dustin Moore and his son Eli got a chance to do something together they enjoy on Saturday.
The two took part in the third annual Owasso Masonic Youth Fishing Day at Centennial Park. Sunshine and an active pond greeted more than 100 children that attended the event.
“It’s just fun for him,” Dustin said. “It’s a good experience.”
The Owasso Masonic Lodge 545, Owasso Cops for Kids and FOP teamed up to host the event. The lodge recently received $5,000 grant after being honored with the Masonry in Action Award, a grant that also helped fund the event.
Fishing poles were provided for participating children as well as educational opportunities to enhance their experience on the water. Kids got the chance to learn about the fundamentals of fishing, park safety, water safety and conservation of fishing.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol and Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, which teamed up with the Owasso FOP to stock the pond with 1,000 fish for the event, also helped make the event a success.
“The goal is to get kids out here fishing,” said Owasso Masonic Lodge 545 Secretary Jim Reynolds. “It’s not a derby. Many of the kids out here have not caught a fish before. We hope this is not a one-time thing for them. That’s why we give them the poles.”
FOP President Travis Sellers said the event also helps children see Owasso Police in a different light.
“We want to have a positive association with kids,” Sellers said. “Usually, if we’re called to their houses, it’s not for a good reason. This helps the kids have a positive interaction with law enforcement.”
Experience levels of baiting worms and casting lines varied from veteran on to first timers among the youth. Six-year-old Eli and his father try to get out on the water when they can.
Moments after reeling in a fish, already his third catch of the morning, Eli admitted he enjoyed the event for more than one reason.
“Cause there’s a playground… and I like to catch fish,” he said.