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Willmar, Minn., chapter of Let's Go Fishing makes a big splash

Let’s Go Fishing reached a milestone by hosting 2,000 guests this season, with nearly 30 trips to go. These guests from Grove City had the honors of setting the new record. Submitted

SPICER — The Willmar chapter of Let's Go Fishing reached a new milestone on Wednesday when volunteers welcomed aboard guests from Grove City for a pontoon ride on Green Lake.

With the arrival of guests with Grove City C.A.R.E., the Let's Go Fishing chapter topped the 2,000 mark in the number of people it has hosted on fishing and boating excursions this summer.

"Great people are making it happen,'' said Roger Benson, chapter president, in reference to the many volunteers who make the summer outings possible. He also credited the ongoing community support for the organization in making it possible to serve so many people.

Launched just eight years ago, the Let's Go Fishing organization has seen a steady, year-by-year increase in the number of guests it hosts. Last year, the Willmar chapter hosted more than 1,800 guests.

Still, Benson was surprised to see the chapter top the 2,000 mark at this point in the season. It's already offered nearly 200 outings this season, after a late spring slowed the startup.

There are still about 30 outings scheduled into September, and Benson can only guess what the final tally for this season will reach.

The steady growth reflects both an increase in the number of seniors requesting trips on the water, as well as Let's Go Fishing's efforts to reach out to young people.

The guests this year have included people from area nursing homes, assisted living quarters, adult day care services, area group homes, hospice programs, veteran homes, active older adults, senior clubs and organizations, plus the seniors from within the general public, according to Benson

The volunteers have also welcomed youth on board from area schools, camps, cub scouts, girl scouts, 4-H, mentored youth groups, and those who come to fish with a grandparent.

The organization now serves a wide array of people, Benson pointed out. Most of those enjoying the outings would not otherwise be able to experience fishing or boating outings. "The smiles and words of appreciation keep us going all summer long,'' he said.

It takes a lot of helping hands to make it possible, and Benson said the chapter is in need of more volunteers. The volunteers do all they can to accommodate the requests of those requesting outings, and more hands are needed if Let's Go Fishing is to keep up with the demand.

Benson welcomes anyone able to help in any role, and urges them to contact the organization or join on a trip to see what it's about. Call the chapter office in Willmar at 320-235-8448 or visit the website:

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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