Jim Schoeberl can remember how special it was for he and his brother to take their father out fishing for the last time.
“I could see the joy we brought to him,” Schoeberl said. “At that point in time I thought, when I get some time, that’s what I want to do.”
When Schoeberl first heard about the Let’s Go Fishing with Seniors programs taking place throughout the state, he knew it was a cause he could get behind.
“I ran into this program and said, ‘Hey, it’s right there. All I’ve got to do is get it organized and get people out and enjoying life’,” he said.
Since the Alexandria’s program start in 2007, volunteers have taken some 1,360 seniors out boating and fishing.
“It gives them an opportunity to get out and enjoy something that is a little bit different,” Schoeberl said.
Generally volunteers round up crews from nursing homes, assisted living homes, individual groups, veterans homes and senior clubs. They’ve also been known to take out adults living in assisted living situations.
“The smiles on those people’s faces —they just really enjoy getting out on the lake and enjoying the water,” he said.
The 62 volunteers take groups out on pontoon boats, which are handicap accessible and able to fit roughly eight people. That means seniors in wheel chairs are able to get out on the lake and take in the scenery and experience, which they might not otherwise have the opportunity to do.
“They would never get out and enjoy the lake if it weren’t for us,” Schoeberl said.
Volunteers also use a smaller boat, able to seat two fishing guests.
Let’s Go Fishing is a non-profit organization that originated in Willmar, Minn. in 2002. Since its creation, chapters have been created throughout the state.
For more information on the Alexandria chapter, or to schedule a summer fishing tour, contact Jim Schoeberl at 320-763-6698 or call the Alexandria community education department at 320-762-2149.