Kids in Augusta with Special Needs Get Outdoors for Fishing Day

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Some children with special needs started the weekend a little early with some fishing at a yearly event Friday in Augusta County.

The Staunton-Augusta chapter of the Izaak Walton League hosted the eighth annual Kids’ Fishing Day. The event lets children who have various types of physical and academic disabilities experience the outdoors. But volunteers also benefit.

Just west of Churchville, students with special needs and mentors got together to have a little fun outdoors.

Paul Johnson, whose son died of a sudden heart attack a year and a half ago, sponsored the event. Along with others, he and his family wanted to create a unique experience. He says his son always enjoyed fishing and helping young people.

"If he had known about this at the time, he would've been here,” Johnson said.

The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries provided fishing poles, trout and other supplies for the event.

"To see what Izaak Walton has done today and to bring some smiles to these kids has been a wonderful thing,” said Paul Bugas, aquatics manager with the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

There was also a raffle Friday, and volunteers from Stuarts Draft High School came out to support the children with disabilities.

Coach and teacher James Carter says he feels proud to see everyone come together.

"A lot of kids don't get the opportunities to come out here and be a part of fishing, or the outdoors, so it's definitely an opportunity for them to be in an area secluded but yet still have the surroundings of nature with the mountains, the pond here,” Carter said.

Corporate sponsors and many others made the day possible.