MEET ME AT THE LAKE is a unique half-day festival-style FREE youth fishing event open to the public and held at various local city lakes throughout the year. This powerful outreach program caters to urban kids and their families who may not otherwise have access to viable fishing opportunities. The Daniel Hernandez Youth Foundation provides a large team of volunteers who work tirelessly to prepare, plan and operate each event to ensure that all participants have a fun, memorable and safe day of fishing. Meet Me at the Lake events are successful because:
- Catfish or trout are purchased and pre-stocked by the foundation in the park waters a day in advance of each event to ensure the greatest chance of catching a fish.
- Rods and reels, hooks, line, and sinkers are available for FREE on a “loaner” basis for each child participant who doesn’t have their own equipment.
- A wide variety of effective baits and tips on how to use them are provided FREE of charge.
- Numerous volunteer anglers are on site and mingle with the kids to offer fishing tips, outdoor education, moral support, positive role modeling and encouragement.
- Volunteers prepare and serve a FREE lunch provided to all participants and their families.
- Rare experiential opportunities are provided FREE of charge for the kids such as hands-on nature exhibits and police and fire equipment danskidsnstrations.
- Generous sponsors provide fishing gear and other great prizes that allow each event to end with FREE raffle for the kids.
Typically, more than 250 youths and their families participate at each Meet Me at the Lake event. For the majority of these kids, it is their first experience fishing. The face of a child who has just caught their first fish is unforgettable. The heartfelt gratitude of the parents, many with limited resources, is very rewarding. The chance to offer their child a outdoor experience, that just might change their life, is priceless.
Other meaningful activities are provided such as the Aquarium of the Pacific’s Traveling Sea Habitat where youths can see and touch live marine animals and learn about personal environmental responsibility. Local Fire and Police Departments provide firefighters, police officers, vehicles and equipment to interact with youths and give the kids a kindly perspective on authority. Various other activity booths offer kids the chance to practice their casting, knot tying, and learn more about our local waters and the animals that live there.