BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — Archery, fishing and shooting are sports that Progressive Fishing Association members enjoy throughout the year, but on Outdoor Family Day, kids ages 8 and up – along with their family members – can try out those sports at no cost.
On Saturday, June 17 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., the private club will bring in experts from nine different fields representing conservation and outdoor recreation.
“We encourage families and young people to get away from their computers, get outside and enjoy something that they may have never done before,” said past president Chris Ferrara. “They may have feared trying something because they didn’t have the proper instruction. Our purpose is to teach people and give them the confidence to try fishing, hunting and other outdoor sports.”
Pat Ramlow, a certified wild animal control operator, will do a presentation on the art of trapping. Tom Phlegman will provide fly fishing instruction. Mike Adcock will lead trap shooting, and retired police officer Dave Cichocki will instruct on using a .22 pistol. Other sports include bait fishing and BB guns. And, new this year, Jane Boone will lead youths in painting outdoor scenes on canvas that can be taken home at the end of the day.
Outdoor Family Day will also debut a new 14-foot archery tower that allows archers of all skill levels to shoot at five different targets from atop or below the structure. Scott Allman will lead youths through learning the sport based on skill level. Construction of the archery range was due in part to the Northwest Ohio chapter of the National Turkey Federation. By the fall, the archery range will be handicapped-accessible.
An Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ONDR) grant is backing the Outdoor Family Day as it meets its goals of focusing on the three R’s: recruitment, retention and reactivation. The ODNR and the National Rifle Association help conservation clubs offer educational programs and purchase equipment that’s sized for youths, such as kid-sized bows and arrows.
This will help the PFA create programs for youths in the future, including archery for different ages and an indoor pistol program for teens, Ferrara said.
Last year, the PFA brought back Youth Day and received a lot of positive feedback, which is why the program was expanded this year to include family members ages 8 and older who also wanted to participate.
“We want people to come out and enjoy the facilities and learn something they don’t know,” Ferrara said.
The program includes a free meal for youths and reasonably priced meals for parents. Registration is not required but encouraged. Scan the QR code in this week’s Mirror or just stop in at 7675 Schadel Rd., Whitehouse, on the day of the event.
For those who can’t make it or want to bring younger children, the PFA continues to offer its annual Fishing Derby on Saturday, August 19 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for ages 3-15. The PFA will provide poles and bait for use, along with instruction, for catch-and-release fishing in its large man-made pond stocked with bluegill, bass and catfish.
The PFA was formed in 1949 to provide a venue for outdoor sports and the appreciation of wildlife and natural resources. The PFA works with the ODNR and other organizations to ensure sound conservation practices and to promote outdoor sports.
For more information, visit the PFA on Facebook or email email@example.com.