The Windermere Police Foundation will host a new youth fishing event.
West Orange children are invited to cast their lines and reel in some fun at the Windermere Police Department Foundation’s Cops and Bobbers.
“First and foremost, when you get to have law enforcement interacting within the community with just some fun engagement events … it’s just a great opportunity (for us) to all let our hair down — so to speak — and just enjoy (getting) one-on-one conversation with the community,” Windermere Police Chief Dave Ogden said. “That’s what’s really fun and really good.”
Children will be divided into age groups, with about five children per police officer, and will walk to the lake that morning. Children ages 3 to 5 are tiny bobbers, ages 6 to 10 will be little bobbers, and ages 11 to 17 will be junior bobbers.
Ogden said the goal is to get law enforcement and the children together for a good day of fishing.
“We’re centrally located between all our lakes, so it’s a great location,” Ogden said. “We went out and scouted some great areas. We’re probably going to use (the docks) at Fifth Street and Fourth Street. We’ll take the little kids there and do some shoreline fishing. Some of the folks have volunteered to bring their boats, as well, so we’ll take some of the older kids out on the boats.”
The idea for the event came from Ogden’s recent visit to Get Hooked, a local bait shop owned by Tim Bagwell, who suggested the officers get together and invite the kids out for a fishing day.
Bagwell and other anglers will be present to give the children some pointers and help them catch and release the fish. He said representatives from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission likely will tag along, as well.
“It’s great for our community that enjoys the lakes, and they really can actually help educate the kids about the lake and the environment and about fishing and about all those kinds of proper safety mechanisms that come along with it,” Ogden said.
Event-goers also can enjoy food and drinks in the morning. One fisherman in each category will receive a trophy for the first fish caught, and one lucky fisherman will win a trophy for the biggest fish caught during the day.
Participation is free and open to children ages 3 to 17 residing throughout West Orange. Participants have been signing up, and Ogden said there is plenty of room for young fishermen.
Even those who are new to fishing are invited to come learn how to bait a hook and fish. Law-enforcement officers from all over West Orange County are invited to volunteer, wear their agency’s casual wear and participate, too.