ATLANTC HIGHLANDS, NJ - The Boys & Girls Clubs of Monmouth County believe in the old saying-- teach a man how to fish & you'll feed him everyday for the rest of his life. In this case, they're actually teaching kids how to fish.

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Last week, more than 270 kids traveled to Atlantic Highlands harbor to learn how to fish at the Jersey shore. This annual fishing boat trip has been a tradition at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Monmouth County (BGCM) since 2006 and has grown tremendously over the past five years.

The inception of this trip came from an avid fisherman making a private donation to the Club. In his honor, the annual “Fishing with Friends” trip was created. As part of the Club’s Life Skills program, exposing a tremendous group of inner city youth to lifetime hobbies like fishing helps develop their overall character and development.

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David Prown helps a youngster land a fish.

“Children need to have positive experiences and learning how to fish can hook a kid for the rest of their life,” said Robert Taylor, BGCM CPO. “We look to provide those experiences that are not necessarily traditional activities for a child from an urban setting.”

In addition to 120 BGCM members, additional youth organizations and community members were invited to participate including the 50 kids from the Highlands Community Center, 20 members of the Pilgrim Baptist Church, and 50 youth participants from Asbury Park PAL. David Prown, owner of Prown’s Home Improvement, brought 50 kids from various youth groups and the Fair Haven Police Department identified community youth to participate.

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“Our boat, had about 30 kids and easily caught 200 fish,” Said Prown.

“Amazingly, 7 year old Mildred reeled in 13 fish herself.”

The children and teens learned about water safety, fishing tactics and sea life. Boat captains, mates and volunteer fisherman worked with the youth to teach them how to respect the sea.

Once the vessels returned, the attendees were transported to the Highlands Community Center where they enjoyed a BBQ prepared by the local Food Bank.

About the Boys and Girls Clubs of Monmouth County:

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Monmouth County is a non-profit organization that provides children ages 6-17 with safe havens where they can participate in unique personal enrichment programs designed to instill a sense of confidence, usefulness, belonging and influence. Members of the Boys & Girls Clubs come from varying backgrounds and often face significant social and economic challenges. Each day over 200 youth are educated about real-life experiences and are encouraged to be active, productive and successful members of society. Learn more at bgcmonmouth.org