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2005 Miss Hooked On Fishing - Not Drugs Weekend Retreat

 

East Texas Get Hooked on Fishing - Not Drugs proudly announces the contestants for the 2005 "Miss Hooked on Fishing" Competition that will be held on February 26, 2005 in Hemphill. Miss Kelly Ann Chumley, 16-year-old sophomore daughter of Melissa and Ricky Chumley. Miss Kelli Danielle Williams, 16-year-old junior daughter of Gary Williams and Rhonda and Roger Griffin. Miss Bristol DeLayne Easley, 15-year-old sophomore daughter of Debra and Jeff Arndt and Barry Easley. All contestants are from Hemphill, Texas and attend Hemphill High School. Each contestant submitted a written essay voicing their desire to represent East Texas Get Hooked on Fishing - Not Drugs and the importance of today's youth having positive alternatives to the destructive lifestyles of drugs and alcohol.

January 29 and 30th, the contestants shared a fun filled weekend retreat sponsored by East Texas Get Hooked on Fishing - Not Drugs at Super 8 Motel in Hemphill. These young ladies began their weekend learning the history of the program as they watched a short documentary made by the Future Fisherman Foundation and Mathew Dekins, a fourteen-year old Florida boy. The documentary was created over 19 years ago. The contestants discovered that the Future Fisherman Foundation was formed when Mathew took the initiative to approach Berkley & Co. and request they help do something about alcohol and drug use among the youth. The contestants realized it was Mathew's willingness to follow through on his idea, seek out assistance and take a stand for his belief that turned his idea into a reality. The Future Fisherman Foundation took Mathew's idea and challenged some carefully chosen sportswriters to begin programs in their hometowns that would encourage fishing as an alternative to drugs and alcohol among the local youth. This was the beginning of Hooked on Fishing - Not Drugs, an award-winning program that has many versions throughout the United States. The East Texas version is currently in it's nineteenth year and has awarded over $370,000 in rods, reels, tackle boxes, baits, caps, t-shirts and other fishing related products to East Texas youth, enabling them to choose fishing as their "anti-drug." During these nineteen years, over 23,900 students have participated in the annual poster / essay contest and over 12,000 kids from toddlers to seniors in high school have participated in the annual 'Fishing Friends & Family Day" held annually in May.

The contestants spent the remainder of the morning learning valuable information from Deputy Grant Bidwell, a certified D.A.R.E. officer with the Sabine County Sheriff's Department. They discussed the 'real life' dangers associated with drug use and underage use of alcohol, as well as the 'real life' consequences associated with them. They discovered cigarettes and marijuana is the number one 'gateway drugs' that led to the use of other drugs.

Brittany Hahn, of Nacogdoches Safe & Drug Free and Shelly Doss-Beardin of Alcohol & Drug Abuse Council joined the retreat later that afternoon for fun and games while they discussed the importance of community involvement, community service, as well as many leadership skills. Each contestant discussed her own strengths and weaknesses and discovered ways she could improve on the weaknesses. Miss Hahn as well as Ms. Doss-Beardin challenged the contestants to be a visible and active member of East Texas and their local community. The contestants where also challenged to be thinking on new ways they could influence the people in their community during the upcoming year.

The contestants worked closely together as a team, creating an exciting activity book, which the 2005 Miss Hooked On Fishing will be distributing to children throughout East Texas during her term. Each contestant is required to raise $200.00 in sponsorship fees; these fees may be from businesses, organizations or individuals. Every sponsor that donates $40.00 or more will receive a 2" x 3" advertisement space in this activity book. Over 1000 books will be made and distributed. All donations and sponsorships to East Texas Get Hooked on Fishing are tax deductible, making this an excellent opportunity for businesses.

The contestants also participated in activities that taught them basic fishing skills from rigging fishing equipment and proper casting techniques to identifying types of fish and the habitats that they are found in. They discussed many rules and regulations that govern our local waters and learned how to find the laws that govern other areas. Angler Jerry Lehman, assisted the Hooked on Fishing crew teach the contestants that a Texas Angler is always courteous, careful, capable and considerate. All three contestants received certification as a Junior Angler through the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.

"Any of these young ladies would make an excellent spokesperson for East Texas Get Hooked on Fishing - Not Drugs. I'm glad that I am not one of the judges because it would be tough to pick one out of these three very bright and enthusiastic young ladies. In my eyes, they are all winners," stated Kenny Isaacks, Executive Director.

The community is invited and encouraged to show their support by attending the first 'Annual Miss Hooked on Fishing Competition' on Saturday February 26, 2005 at the Hemphill School Cafeteria. There will be great entertainment by singer Todd Malone and Eddie Sunday, ventriloquist/comedian. Make plans to bring the family and enjoy some good clean entertainment while supporting your favorite Miss Hooked on Fishing Contestant.

Thanks to Orelle Hinton, Cindy Shaw, Melissa Chumley, Kenny and Tina Isaacks for providing food, drinks and refreshments. We'd like to express special thanks to Denise and the staff at Super 8 Motel for providing excellent accommodations for the retreat.

 

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