Sportsmen for Youth is probably the largest event in Muskegon County focused on kids. For 33 years those who love the outdoors as well as those who try to focus on making sure kids have something more to do than stare at their screens all day come together to provide a hands on expo that encompasses, all things hunting, fishing, nature conservation and points of interest in the world of first responders be it police, fire or other services. It's been a dedicated group of community leaders that have grown this event to what you'll find September 9th at the Muskegon County Fairgrounds. Best of all, no cost for admission.
With over 60 presenting displays and everything from archery to the West Michigan Wildlife Association, it's a day filled to the brim with experience based learning opportunities and ways to engage young people into the values that so many of us held dear when we were younger, but seem to be a little more of an afterthought today. I don't think the values are "missing" but life today doesn't always allow for the time it takes to set off that spark inside a kids head that maybe they have a thing for horses. Maybe it's learning about the rescue tools that a fire department might have to use in a certain circumstance or it could be a career in the Coast Guard. These are the avenues we sometimes pass by when we've got the scurry of day to day life happening.
Brian Harris and Brandon Poel met up with me at the Norton Shores PD where they both work to talk about the importance of this event as well as the dedication of the group who continues to grow the size and scope of it. It's become a day that you'll be hard pressed to get "everything" in while you're there but the highlights like the Hawg Trough where you can literally see fish react to lures and bait in real time or maybe it's the trout pond that the Michigan Anglers bring in, where kids get the chance to catch and keep the fish and even have it cleaned and packed for them right there on the spot. There are raffles, prizes, FREE LUNCH for the kids and a very nominal fee for the parents to eat. It an absolutely wonderful way to get away from the sidewalks everywhere and get out to where you can get a little dirty and really have some fun.
The event kicks off in the morning. The line starts early like they mentioned in the video. It's a full day of fun with purpose and to know that for over 30 years now, we've set aside a day to bring kids away from their Atari...wait....the Atari was 30 years ago.....um....kids away from their Switch is a relief for everyone and to make the best use of the Muskegon County Fair Grounds, we couldn't see a better fit! Enjoy the day and the gathering. You can CLICK HERE for more details on Sportsmen for Youth.