Spend time with your children on the water

To all those worthy of the title, Happy Mother’s Day!

I, along with my brothers and sisters, are blessed with two wonderful parents who are both with us and we hope they will continue to enrich our lives for a long time!

On Mother’s Day it is customary to give mom a gift or treat as a small thank you for all she has given her family over the course of the year. Here is a small gift that mothers can give their children, and it will be repaid unto them in countless measure. Give them a little bit of your precious time.

It may seem petty, but judging from the essays that were submitted by 430 students from around the county this year, a little bit of your undivided attention can be a treasure to your youngster. The essay I am referring to is the annual essay contest sponsored by the Chautauqua County Sports Fishery Advisory Board, which has been ongoing for decades.

Youths from around the county in grades three through six are invited to submit their entries with a theme that usually pertains to fishing and who would they like to go fishing with. The prize is usually a fishing rod and reel combo and the top prize is an opportunity to go fishing with County Executive Greg Edwards.

Every entry is read by each member of the CCSFAB and awarded a grade from one to five, with five being the high score. This year there were eight judges: Chip Speisman, Taylor West, Chairman Zen Olow, Monte Kennedy, Lance Ehrhardt, Mike Cluchey, Keith Sandy and myself.

We met at the Gerace Building on May 2 at 6 p.m. Lance, Taylor and Keith were rookies, so they got the skinny on what we are looking for. At that age level, grammar, spelling and punctuation will take a back seat to content and originality. Some stories are funny and some will make you nearly weep. By 10 p.m. we took a break, but the discussion always gets around to how the kids all seem to want to spend time with their mom or dad. especially in a single-parent environment.

Fishing seems to be a good choice because it affords the opportunity to talk, laugh, goof around, have something to eat, and just have some one-on-one time. Catching fish is just a bonus. Moms and dads are usually top choice for companions, followed by brothers and sisters, best friends that make the kids laugh, then the uncle that knows a lot about fishing and some sports figure or wrestler. President Obama didn’t get mentioned this year.

Chairman Olow was able to get a few extra dollars for the fishing outfits this year and plans on awarding close to 40 units. All funds are from donations. The essay judges donate their time and are rewarded with the satisfaction of a job well done. Each judge enjoys fishing and loves seeing youngsters get involved in the sport.

Thanks also go out to the teachers who encouraged their students to enter this year’s competition. So happy Mother’s Day and go fish or just hang out with your loved ones. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

Calendar:

Spring turkey season opened May 1. I am looking for stories and photos to publish. Call 366-1772, 467-2079 or the OBSERVER at 366-3000, ext. 5 after 5 p.m. Good luck and be safe!

The Bear Lake Rod & Gun club will host a 3-D archery shoot from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m., on Sunday, May 19. Watch for their special rifle shoot on June 9, featuring a 200-yard open rifle shoot from 8 a.m.- 3 p.m. For more information on these shoots or on the Bear Lake Club, call either Rob at 485-3773, Tom at 680- 0209 or the club house at 595-3334. All shoots are open to the public.

If your club is hosting a hunter safety training/archery/trapper/pistol course, turkey shoot or any event that pertains to the outdoors, call 366-1772 or 366-3000 ext. 5 after 5 p.m.

The Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club Take A Kid Fishing Day is set for June 8. Sign-up sheets are now available at the Club.

Saturday, June 15 marks the first time the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Festival and the Great Lakes Experience (GLE) will be held in Dunkirk. This event is a sister event to the one held in Buffalo since 2001. GLE is looking for fish and wild-life related exhibitors and regional environmental groups to participate . The goal is to engage the community and work with local stakeholders to protect and enhance the natural resources of the Lower Great Lakes. There is still time to get on board by calling Jennifer Colon or by emailing her at colon@fredonia.edu. To register an exhibit contact Beth Smeader at bsmeader-gle@yahoo.com.

The Cassadaga Lakes Association will host their 20th annual Lew Mead Youth Fishing Tournament on June 29 at the DEC boat launch on Dale Drive in Cassadaga from 7 a.m. until 11 a.m. This event is free for all youth ages 16 and younger. If you would like to donate a door prize, volunteer or are looking for more information, call 595-3950.

Several safe boating courses are being offered in the area. These classes are New York state-approved boater safety classes required for anyone between 10 and 18 years old to operate a motor boat and everyone age 14 and above to operate a personal water craft like a jet ski. There is no pre-registration required for any of these courses. All registration will be done on site. Parents of attendees under the age of 18 must sign a release form.

On May 18, the course will be at Southwestern Middle School, 600 Hunt Road, Jamestown from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Bring a lunch.

On June 15, the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club will host the course at 1 North Mullet Street. The course is from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., with lunch provided. These courses are free to anyone ages 10-17. Attendees age 18 and over will have to pay a $10 fee to New York state prior to receiving the certificate card.

Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER outdoors columnist. Send comments to sports@observertoday.com.