The Power of Partnership: USA Ice Team Joins One Hope United for an Unforgettable Day
On a chilly winter morning, a group of USA Ice Team pros headed out on frozen Deep Lake, a private lake in the Chicago suburbs. The pros, known for their skills on the ice and their love of the sport, had come equipped with all the tools and equipment they’d need to make sure the day on the ice was a success. The team regularly competes in ice fishing tournaments across the globe but on this frosted-over day they were setting up for a different kind of challenge – teaching a group of boys from the Ermit L. Finch Residential Campus how to ice fish.
As the sun began rising, the pros continued to work while the boys finished up their breakfast and trickled into the conference space to get an introduction to ice fishing from world champion fisherman, Tony Boshold. With their ice fishing questions answered and an understanding of safety on the ice, the boys picked up their “snackleboxes” and eagerly trudged down the hill to meet the rest of the pros on the frozen lake with OHU Hope Members and volunteers.
Cautiously walking on the ice, the boys inspected the lake for themselves and then the ice fishing lessons began with learning to use an auger to drill holes in the ice. Working one-on-one with the pros, the boys learned about the different types of bobbers and how to read temperature and depth gauges to find the best spots to fish. Within minutes of the first line being dropped in the water, one boy pulled a Sun Perch out of the water.
“What a great event! I loved that every child had one-on-one time with adults that weren’t staff, and I’m certain that it is always beneficial for children to see adults working together,” said Scott Moeller, an OHU Board Director volunteering at the event. “I also love the “snackleboxes” and the confidence that the boys gained throughout the day.”
But the day wasn’t just about catching fish. The boys also had the opportunity to learn about the importance of conservation, how to properly measure and handle their catches, and how to fillet a fish. After a morning on the ice, they enjoyed a delicious lunch, including a fried fish appetizer, and won prizes for the biggest catch and the most catches. The day was filled with laughter, excitement, and new experiences that the boys will never forget.
“One of the most poignant moments was when Scott Moeller asked the boys if they had any ‘fish tales’,” said Cindy Miller-Lusignan, an OHU Board Director. “We heard from one boy that his patience and grasp of the instruction on equipment really paid off. He fished with no success for the entire morning, then he moved to the fishing shanty that had the world-class electronic fish-finding equipment. He figured out how to use the sonar device, locate fish, and catch a good size fish at the end of the fishing derby. He was so thankful to Mike McNett for his strategic help in reeling in his catch.”
Events like this ice fishing derby are just one of the many ways that OHU is partnering with other organizations and the community to make a positive impact on the lives of children and families. By partnering with OHU, individuals and businesses alike have the opportunity to make a real and lasting difference in their communities. Whether through donations, volunteering, or sponsoring an event like this one, there are countless ways to get involved and support OHU’s mission.
“Additionally, I think that anytime that we can expose children to positive experiences beyond their own world, it helps them as they work through their traumas,” said Moeller.
If you’re looking for a way to give back and make a difference in the lives of children, consider partnering with OHU. Together, we can ensure that every child has the opportunity to live life without limits.