Police, parks team up to take Niles kids fishing

Published 9:33 am Wednesday, July 9, 2003

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Many children never get a chance to go fishing.
But for the roughly 160 children taking part in Niles' Summer Parks Program, that isn't so.
The city's Summer Parks Program and the Niles City Police Department are for the second year in a row running a fishing program.
This year's program is held at Spalding Camp Ground on Bell Road.
Kosten is among those in charge of the fishing program.
He said before going fishing the children learn about fish and how to be responsible users of nature.
Kosten also said the children learn about fishing practices and how to cast safely.
Kosten said each day they have a fishing contest where prizes are given out to the person who has caught the biggest fish, and to the person who has caught the most fish.
For the most part, the children catch small blue gills, but some have also caught bass and catfish, he said
Kosten said when the summer Parks Program's participants gather for a mini carnival on August 8, at Eastside Park, a grand fishing prize will be given out.
Amanda Albright was among the eight children from Cherry Street park who spent Thursday morning fishing at Spalding Lake.
Having tried fishing for the first time at the age of three, Albright landed eight fish before noon Thursday.
She was among those who had picked up on what might be one of the most important things about fishing.
Most of the equipment used during the fishing program is donated.
Mary Jane Davis, community coordinator at Wal-Mart in Niles, said Wal-Mart donated tackle boxes containing a bobber, stickers, fishing tips, treats for the children and sun block for this year's fishing program.
Although the program gives the children a great opportunity to go fishing, Davis also said it enables the children to meet a police officer one-on-one at a young age.
She hopes the experience the children get while fishing might encourage them to take up fishing as a future past time.
Alicia Ruff is the program director for the city's summer Parks Program.
In her third year involved with the program, Ruff said the fishing program gives most of the children a new experience.
Like Davis, however, Ruff also sees the benefit of the children being in contact with police officers at a young age.
So far this year 50 children have gone through the fishing program.