I am sure that there are many successful people in life who have never been fishing. I am even more sure that there are millions of people with vivid memories of a childhood fishing experience. And of those who have a fishing story from childhood, I am willing to bet the majority include a father or grandfather (I will admit that this personal research has involved fewer than 5 people, but I have a gut feeling about this one…). For so many of our students at PTM, a fishing trip with a father is not normative.
This past weekend, Darryl Thompson rallied a group of men to serve as “fishing mentors” for ten of our students. Our students felt the sting of bug spray and sunscreen, the burn of the sun on a 95 degree day, the frustration of waiting patiently on overfed catfish, and the sheer joy and delight of being with a kind and loving male mentor, catching fish, being in the outdoors, and forming positive memories of experience outside of their normal routine.
Fishing is not essential for overcoming the hardships inherent in living in a low-income neighborhood, but having positive adults investing in a variety of ways is. I am so thankful for men who spent a Saturday morning building into our students experiences that they will look back on as life-shaping stories of resilience and hope.