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Local groups focus on getting kids outdoors, promoting positive mental health while fishing

Posted at 5:45 PM, Mar 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-18 17:45:17-04

APOLLO BEACH, Fla. — We all know how tough it can be to find the right balance as a kid. There are groups working right now to change that by growing positive attitudes and focusing on the outdoors right here in the Tampa Bay area.

On Friday, kids at the FWC’s Suncoast Youth Conservation Center in Apollo Beach learned there’s nothing like getting out in the fresh air with friends to fish.

“I can feel in my pulse that I can believe myself to catch a fish today,” said 8-year-old King.

About 40 kids joined in for a youth fishing clinic through the FWC’s Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network and their partners at ImPowered Minds. The young fisherman set their goals high.

“My goal is to catch three fish in one day,” said King.

"Some kids were like, ‘No, I don’t want to be here. I want to play my game,” said Jasen Glanton, CEO of ImPowered Minds. “But believe it or not by the end of the day, they’re excited. They’re happy.”

It’s not all just about reeling in a big catch. The clinic focuses on promoting positive mental health while learning how to fish, helping build on important life and outdoor skills.

Fishing is also personal for Glanton.

“My dad took me and my brother and my sister fishing every single Thursday, and what I learned is that’s where all the mentorship happened,” said Glanton. “One thing we believe in is that if you can raise a child’s self-image, you can raise their IQ, and that’s what we really focus on out here: treating them the right way, teaching them humanity, and it’s all about human prosperity.”

Kids learned the basics, heard words of wisdom from speakers like Tampa City Council Chair Orlando Guides, and were ready to cast a line.

“When you can’t catch something one day, you can get another chance the next day,” said 8-year-old Torrence.

It’s all an effort to grow important life skills while still creating lasting memories.

“When they catch fish, it’s over,” said Glanton. “They’re fishermen, or fisherwomen, forever.”