Give a child a fish, and they’ll eat for a day. Teach a child to fish—and build their confidence—and they’ll provide for themselves their entire lives. So goes the thinking behind Snag & Brag, a series of local fishing and mentoring clinics for underprivileged youth. This summer’s clinics will pair more than 75 kids—ages seven to 13, from Children’s Home, Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Peoria and the Boy Scouts’ inner-city ScoutREACH program—with mentors to learn the art of fishing… and valuable life lessons.

“Mentors will teach the kids how to use fishing poles and do casting exercises… then they will all go fishing,” explains Scott Bauer, co-organizer of this year’s event alongside Bill Cirone, whose lake-filled land in Farmington will host the clinics. “The goal is for every kid to catch something.”

Along with instruction and mentoring, participants will receive breakfast, lunch, and their own tackle box, rod and reel, provided at a discount by Bass Pro Shops. Afterward, they will be given an opportunity to write an essay on the theme of change. “In years past, many things have come to fruition,” Bauer says. “Bullying, malnutrition and problems in the home… these essays tell a story.” The organizers hope to use the essays to help identify and resolve needs in the community.

The clinics, which double as fundraisers, will take place on the following dates: Boy Scouts’ ScoutREACH: June 7-9; Children’s Home: June 21-23; and Boys and Girls Clubs: July 12-14. On August 11th, a dinner reception celebrating the kids and volunteer mentors will take place at Wildlife Prairie Park, with proceeds going to Children’s Home and the Boys and Girls Clubs. iBi

Snag & Brag is looking for volunteers and mentors to assist during this year’s clinics. For more information, contact Scott Bauer at [email protected]