The annual Kids Fishing Derby, sponsored by the Eyeopeners Kiwanis Club of Fort Collins, introduces young children to the fun and art of sport fishing. In many cases, this is the first opportunity for kids to experience sport fishing.
Eyeopeners promotes the Fishing Derby to organizations serving youth (ages 7-14) in northern Colorado, including the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Collins and Wellington, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, the Northside Aztlan Center, Partner’s Mentoring Youth, the Family Center, and Turning Point.
A key partner in the Fishing Derby is Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife, which provides fishing poles, reels, and barbless hooks for each participant and a brief talk on fishing rules and regulations immediately prior to fishing. The best part — kids get to keep their fishing gear at the end of the event as an encouragement to go fishing with their family in the future.
This event has grown considerably since its inception in 1995 when 25-30 children participated. In 2016, a banner year, the event was attended by 196 kids accompanied by 147 adults. Many members of the Eyeopener’s Kiwanis Club participate in the event in addition to volunteers from the Colorado State University Circle K Club, Fort Collins High School Key Club, and the Kiwanis Club of Wellington-Waverly. Prior to fishing, all participants enjoy freshly barbequed hamburgers and hot dogs grilled by Eyeopeners Kiwanis Club members.
The real value of this project can be summed up in a comment one of our members received from a single mom during a recent event: “You don’t know what this means to me as a single parent on a limited budget to be able to bring my kids to this event where we can have a meal and an evening of safe recreational activity at no cost – thank you so much.”