Feb. 7—CROOKSTON — Last weekend's inaugural Get Kids Outdoors ice fishing excursion to Island Lake near Lengby, Minnesota, was a big success, organizers say, and plans are already in the works for a second annual event next year.
The event was organized by Get Kids Outdoors-Adam Parnow Memorial Inc.,
a nonprofit named after Adam Parnow, 39, a Crookston outdoors enthusiast who died in a spray plane crash on June 27, 2023. The family set up the nonprofit as a way to continue Adam's name and legacy.
According to Adam's dad, Fred Parnow, about 40 kids participated in the Get Kids Outdoors fishing excursion Saturday afternoon, Feb. 3. The event included bus transportation from Crookston to Island Lake, and the young anglers had the opportunity to try ice fishing in a variety of settings, ranging from sitting on 5-gallon buckets to fishing in the deluxe comfort of a wheelhouse.
Volunteers, of which there were about 20 in all, used ATVs and side-by-side vehicles to shuttle the kids from the public access to the fish houses about a half-mile away, Parnow said.
"Everything went so well," he said. "The kids were totally engaged. They looked up to the volunteers, the mentors, the people that were teaching them in the houses. They had an opportunity to be in flip-over houses, hub houses, sitting by the campfire catching fish and they got to experience being in a wheelhouse watching fish on the big screen TV.
"That was pretty amazing. Those kids were just so focused all day long, and it was just a total fun day for everybody."
In addition, nine students from the University of Minnesota Crookston's Natural Resources Club provided a "Classroom on Wheels" during the bus trip to the lake, sharing their knowledge on a variety of outdoor skills, ranging from knot-tying to fish identification and aquatic invasive species.
"I think all the kids had a great time," Fred Parnow said. "It was really fun when the day started. These young kids were just so focused. That bus was just as quiet as a mouse. They were all engaged. It was just so much fun to watch the kids."
The fishing wasn't fast and furious, Parnow says, which is often the case when fishing in the middle of the day, but all of the young participants caught some fish.
"Actually, several northerns were caught, (and) a lot of perch, during the day," Parnow said. "Someone actually caught a walleye, which I guess isn't very common on that lake."
After the event, Parnow received a thank you letter from a parent that pretty much summed up why the family formed the nonprofit and organized the fishing excursion in the first place.
"My boy ... just got back home from your event on Island lake with a pail full of fishing equipment and a lot of excitement about fishing," the parent wrote. "I can't tell you what it means to me that you did this. ... It brought tears to my eyes that so many people came together to pass on this passion to the kids and my boy came home asking when we could go out on the ice next.
"Bless you sir! What a wonderful way to honor your boy."
According to Parnow, the Get Kids Outdoors-Adam Parnow Memorial nonprofit just learned it has received a $5,000 grant from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources through the
DNR's "No Child Left Inside" program.
The nonprofit will use the grant to fund a kids' fishing trip next summer on Maple Lake near Mentor, Minnesota, Parnow said.
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