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Kiwanis Fishing Derby reels in fun

By Staff | Apr 19, 2009

Wally Laumeyer and the rest of his Kiwanis brethren want to help the kids of Cape Coral by putting a fishing rod and reel into their hands. Laumeyer hopes it will help them to make smart decisions in the future.
“If we can keep one kid from getting into trouble, then it’s money well spent,” he said.
It was all part of the Cape Coral Kiwanis Club’s 20th Annual Fishing Derby, which gives 375 kids the chance to reel in the big one at the Cape Coral Yacht Club. Part of the derby’s lure is the free, brand new, rods and reels, which each participant receives for simply showing up.
The event has grown exponentially over its two decades, according to Laumeyer.
He said they started with 20 kids and some used equipment, which the kids had to share.
Now, the Cape Kiwanis are able to help kids create their own fishing memories by leaning heavily on their fund-raising efforts at their two thrift store locations. The derby, along with $200,000 in scholarship money, is completely funded with proceeds from their stores.
“Here we are in this waterfront community and some these kids have never had a fishing pole,” Laumeyer added.
The club’s president, Jim Docker, was especially proud of the the club’s scholarship efforts, which awards 19 kids with money for college.
He felt the fishing derby is an extension of those efforts, reaching out to the kids by reinvesting the money they raise in the kids’ futures. The Kiwanis also gave away 15 new bicycles.
“I don’t think there’s another service organization that does what we do,” Docker said.
Part of the derby’s draw for the organizers is the kids who return year after year.
Laumeyer said he has seen many of the kids grow up, moving from elementary to middle school.
Brittany Hovind, 12, of Naples, attends every year. She discovered the Derby because her grandmother lives in the Cape, and now she fishes all the time.
“I’ve been doing this since I was five or six,” Hovind said. She had caught a 14-inch needle fish earlier that day. “You get all excited when you catch a fish. I fish all the time on the weekends. Its really fun!”
For more information on the Cape Coral Kiwanis Club visit: capecoralkiwanis.org. The club’s two thrift stores are located at 708 SE 47th Terrace, and 652 Del Prado Blvd.