The Africa Center’s mentorship program Saturday afternoon at Hermitage Park in Edmonton taught young people who have never fished before how to drop a line, how to snare a hook, and what to do with fish out of water .
The center teamed up with the Alberta Conservation Association to enlist children ages 7-16 for the event.
For Esmahan Abdullah it was more about life lessons for his children than fishing.
“One of the main reasons I wanted them to learn is that fishing teaches you patience,” she said.
“With this generation, they’re always on the go, so today it was really cool to see them being enthusiastic, learning safety, being patient, respecting someone else’s space, so that’s great.”
Abdullah said it was a good way to get his kids out and after being close to home for almost a year.
“We’ve done online school all year long and it’s nice for them to see other kids.”
The event was free, something Abdullah said was great because it gives children from marginalized communities a chance to get out and learn skills with other children. Because of the cost of some summer camps it is not accessible to everyone, she said.
Baha Ismail participated in the program.
“I liked it because the teachers helped us when we didn’t know how to do that,” she said.
Will she catch fish again?
“Yes,” she said. “Many times. It’s been a really nice day.”
Tawa Nzeku, the Africa Center for Mentorship and Leadership Coordinator, said more people turned out than he had imagined.
“I’ve seen an extraordinary success,” she said. “I’m really pleased. I’m happy.”
“When the idea first came, I was like, ‘Fishing phenomenon… Personally, I don’t know how to fish’ and [what would] What do parents think about it?” she said. She was also worried about the weather, but people came out despite it.
Over 50 kids were able to participate, and there were about 20 kids on the waiting list, so Nezeku won the gold medal with the idea.
“It’s been fun all the way.”