VFW Post 4833, the FWC and Fish Florida host fishing clinic for SITE students

Ramon Rios

MILTON — Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4833 hosted a fishing clinic sponsored by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Fish Florida for students in the Skills for Independence Transition and Employment program at the end of the year.

Ed Paseck and fellow VFW member Jon Dixon volunteered to teach the fishing clinic.

“This was the first time that most of these students fished,” Paseck said. “We brought them out to my house in Bagdad, because I live on the Blackwater River and have a big dock in the back.”

Fish Florida, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, supports organizations that teach people, especially children, about Florida’s fish and aquatic habitats through donations of fishing equipment (such as a new reel and tackle box), grants, and scholarships.

“We fished from 10 (a.m.) to 1 (p.m.) then fed them lunch,” Paseck said. “We taught them how to cast, tie a hook and bobber on the line and bait a hook. The fish that were caught were released.”

Paseck’s VFW Post 4833 provided fishing instruction, chaperons and lunch for the group. Paseck said the post usually buys hamburgers, hot dogs, chips and sodas for the fishing group.

“We hold a fishing clinic whenever we get enough students to participate,” Paseck said. “The next clinic will probably take place in April of 2020.”

The SITE program is a joint effort between the Exceptional Student Education Department, Santa Rosa Adult School and the United States Navy. It is located at NAS Whiting Field and the program serves young adults, ages 18-21 years old, which have completed school with a special diploma and need continued support in developing "real-world" skills.

The SITE Program teaches the students various independent living skills in the classroom and community environments. Students learn proper work behaviors and specific job skills with on-the-job training support provided at locations on NAS Whiting Field and the community.

For additional information or if you would like to provide a job training opportunity for a student of the SITE program please call 850-983-5147 and ask for the program director.

If you or your organization would like to participate or sponsor the lunch portion of the fishing clinic, please call 850-390-2000. For more Information on Fish Florida go to: https://www.fishfloridatag.org/about/.

Fish Florida

According to the Fish Florida website, the organization continues to support kids’ fishing clinics, fishing and conservation education programs and students. A purchase of the Fish Florida license plate has enabled them to donate more than 22,300 rods and reels to 126 kids’ fishing clinics throughout Florida, award more than $76,000 in grants to organizations running fishing education programs, and give $15,000 in scholarships to marine science students at four Florida universities.