This recent article in the “Island Reporter” by Brian Wierima caught our eye. What lucky kids!
It can be a challenge for parents to find ways to keep their children busy during the summer vacation months, but the San-Cap Optimist Club, along with the Sanibel Recreation Center, is helping out in a big way.
Ever since early June, volunteers from the San-Cap Optimist Club have brought up to 15-20 Sanibel students fishing around the island every Monday morning, with the grand finale coming Monday, Aug. 1, on the Causeway Island.
“We usually get close to 20 kids coming out and we bring them to Ding Darling (Wildlife Refuge), Blind Pass, the Causeway Islands and to Tarpon Bay Explorers,” said San-Cap Optimist vice president Randy Carson.
Bailey General Store provides the shrimp for bait and the Tarpon Bay Explorers provide rods and reels, as well as the pontoon boats.
The kids and Optimist volunteers, which range from three to five, have met Monday mornings. The Aug. 1 finale will feature a picnic with hotdogs, chips and soda being served, starting at 10 a.m. and running through 11:30 a.m.
“The fishing is one of the biggest outings for the Rec Center during the summer,” Carson said. “The funny thing is, with the kids being from Sanibel, there are six to eight year olds who know more about fishing than we do. They really love it.”
The San-Cap Optimist Club is heavily involved with Rec Center activities, which includes Rec Friday Pizza Night, along with Island Pizza. The Optimist Club also provides six $2,000 college scholarships to Sanibel students a year and also help buy basketball jerseys for the kids during the season.
The Club’s big fundraisers include the Fourth of July Road Rally – which has been going since 1998 – the Wine and Food Festival and also on the slate is new event in November, the Blues and Jazz Festival.