Growing up, I never missed an opportunity to go fishing with my dad. Fishing was our time. Some of my favorite childhood memories are trolling for fish in the summer. I remember the sights, sounds, and smells like it was yesterday. It would take Dad a little tinkering, a few choice words (not to be repeated in front of mom ☺ ), and several pulls on the cord to fire up the old two-stroke Mercury. Once it was running – we were off on our adventures.

Fishing created a bond between Dad and me. It allowed us the opportunity to come home with stories about the fish we caught and the ones that got away. It was a safe space to have conversations about anything and everything. Over the years, the phrase “Wanna go fishin?” became our code for – Hey, there’s something I need to get off my chest.” To this day, fishing with my dad took precedence.

When Aimee, a youth social worker, reached out to the One Community Many Voices (OCMV) office in need of fishing gear – she was speaking to the right gal. Aimee was working with a 12-year-old boy who wanted to reconnect with his father. The father/son relationship was complicated due to the father’s past. All involved felt fishing was a fun and healthy way to start building their relationship. However, no one had fishing gear, nor the extra cash to purchase the gear. Hence, Aimee’s call to the OCMV office. Understanding the potential impact fishing could have on this boy and his father, I gladly agreed to find some gear.

That same evening, I shared the request at a Camden Lions meeting hoping someone might have unwanted gear. After the meeting, a fellow Lion wanted to discuss the request. We briefly exchanged stories about fishing with our dads and his outings with his daughters. Lion Sean didn’t make judgement or question the father’s past or financial hardship. Those details were irrelevant. He simply wanted to contribute to the cause. A few days later, Sean showed up at the OCMV office with new rods and other fishing gear. He too understood the language of fishing between a father and child!

Out of respect, I will not reveal many details about the boy and his father. Following up with Aimee – both are grateful for the fishing gear. They are slowly getting to know each other. Each looks forward to their next fishing adventure. Just as the language of fishing is supposed to – it’s providing a safe space for this father and son to have meaningful conversations, build trust, and make positive memories.