Fine day for fishing

Kevin Wilson

OASIS STATE PARK — Saturday marked the 13th time Oasis State Park has held a free fishing clinic for kids, but a constant wind was about the only element that could be considered bad luck.
The state park had another successful run with its clinic as several area service organizations helped out during the five-hour event.
Organizations supporting the event included Retired Seniors and Volunteers Program (RSVP), the Evening Lion Club of Clovis and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 3280.
About 175 people from the Portales/Clovis area attended, about 70 children and their parents (or guardians). Whary said the clinic is intended for ages 6-17, but the actual age of participants is closer to the 6-13 range.
The children that do come learn about different elements of fishing, as they rotated from different fishing stations set up by the Oasis rangers. One station would teach about the proper way to cast, another on how to clean fish, etc.
“The point, obviously, is to teach these kids how to fish,” park manager Jim Whary said. “Some are fishing for their first time. Some have been here before, but it always seems like they learn something new.
Whary said that the park and supporting organizations plan for each clinic on a year-round basis, but really get “gung ho” about it around August and September. Leading up to November, they round up donations from area businesses and get the word out about the clinic.
As long as the local members can remember, RSVP has been part of the clinic. Program director Vonnie Banther said that the Roosevelt County division of the nationwide organization works out of the Community Services Center. The group also tutors for the literacy council and gives free income tax assistance, but providing lunch and door prizes for the children is one of the group’s favorite events.
“The biggest reason is that it’s a good inter-generational event,” Banther said. “I never have a problem getting volunteers to come out and help.”
Whary has set the clinic for the weekend preceding Thanksgiving, as the lake is usually stocked with fish a few days before the event. Saturday’s conditions were windy, but temperatures were in the mid-70s.
“It’s great weather to work with (today),” Whary said, “but we still have it when it’s cold out here.”