CLEVELAND, Ohio — Any time you go fishing, you'll have a story to tell. Imagine how many memories the hundreds of kids who attended Kids Fish CLE Day could share.
Bob Gutta, Community Partnership Coordinator for the Cleveland Police Foundation has managed the festival for six years. "We have a ball. We have a bunch of kids from different neighborhoods from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland."
Police officers volunteer their time to help the kids, many of whom have never been fishing or been on a boat. Local fishing charter boats "The Holiday" and "The Express" took around 50 kids and 20 officers out on Lake Erie for an hour or so of fishing.
As soon as they were ready to go, the skies opened up. Rain showers turned the fish off, and things were a bit wavy on the water, but a few small fish were caught. Things were going much better on shore.
"I caught the first fish of the day," says shore angler Aiden O'Neal as he proudly displays his medal for the catch. "It's a lot of fun and you don't know what you're going to catch." Though fishing is the focus, the event is really about connecting kids and families with police officers and having fun. Together.
Gutta adds, "They come, they interact with our officers which is very important to understand the fact our officers are human beings. They're able to go on the boat, help them bait hooks and take care of a fish when they catch one."
And even if they didn't catch a fish, maybe the kids came away with something more. "There's been a lot of participation, a lot of interaction and like I said these kids know that when they need help, they can go to our officers," says Gutta.
That's the big one no one hopes gets away.