Union Volunteers, Former NFL Player Priest Holmes Help Kansas City Area Youths Get Hooked on Fishing
Nearly 200 young anglers and their families lined the banks of Troost Lake in the heart of Kansas City alongside local union members and other community volunteers and retired Kansas City Chiefs running back Priest Holmes on Saturday for the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) 2nd Annual Greater Kansas City BCTC Take Kids Fishing Day.
Hosted by the USA and the Greater Kansas City Building and Construction Trades Council (BCTC), the free event was supported by Priest Holmes Foundation, Big Brothers Big Sisters Kansas City, Kansas City Parks, the Missouri Department of Conservation, Marriott Hotels and the USA’s Take Kids Fishing Day Host Sponsor Humana.
“Take Kids Fishing Day gave kids and parents from different economic backgrounds an opportunity to learn about the outdoors through fishing and build their confidence in handling rods, reels and baiting hooks,” said Holmes, who is actively involved in the NFL Players Association and the USA. “There were lots of memories made. I watched one boy pull worms out of a bait cup with so much interest. Other kids said they have never fished before. I encouraged them for trying something new and challenged them to keep fishing after the event.”
All the young anglers received a free fishing rod and reel, to ensure they have the chance to continue fishing for years to come. Many of the kids won additional outdoor gear in giveaways held during lunch.
Thirty-three volunteers from the Greater Kansas City BCTC, Ironworkers Local 10, Sheet Metal Workers Local 2, Fire Fighters Local 42, Insulators Local 27, Teamsters Local 41, Operative Plasterers’ and Cement Masons’ Local 518, Bricklayers Local 15, Pipefitters Local 533, Electrical Workers Local 124, Greater Kansas City AFL-CIO, NFLPA, along with staff from Marriott Hotels, Humana, Big Brothers Big Sisters Kansas City and the Missouri Department of Conservation provided participants with hands-on instruction and assistance using their new rods along with tips on how to catch a big one.
“Our communities don’t often get to experience the value of labor, but this year’s location really helped everyone understand that labor is not just an organization,” said Alise Martiny, business manager of the Greater Kansas City BCTC. “I couldn’t be more pleased by the volunteer turnout and how hard everyone worked to prepare for the event—especially the members of Iron Workers Local 10.”
Dave Coleman, business manager/financial secretary-treasurer of Iron Workers Local 10, was equally impressed by the diversity of union trades that volunteered. “I think it really shows what the building trades is all about – giving back to the community,” he said. “And I think it’s important to give inner-city youth the opportunity to fall in love with the outdoors. One boy I was fishing with had never caught a fish before, and he hooked a 14” channel cat—he was so excited.”
To teach youth that fishing isn’t just fun but can also be a source of food, the Missouri Department of Conservation set up a fish cleaning demonstration at the event.
“In an age of cell phones, tablets, video games, TV screen and other devices vying for children’s attention, events like this are more important than ever to get both kids and adults away from electronics and immersed in the outdoors together,” said USA CEO and Executive Director Walt Ingram. “We are deeply thankful to the Greater Kansas City BCTC and to all the union and partner volunteers who turned out to give participating families a fun and educational experience and spark their interest in fishing.”