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Youth Clinic Fishing Blog

By KStricker - Published July 20, 2012 - Viewed 2096 times

What began as a vision in 1982, the Jim "Moose" Carden Kid's Fishing Clinic has blossomed into one of Kokomo, Indiana’s largest and most popular community events. During a wade-fishing trip on the Eel River, nationally known outdoor writer Jim "Moose" Carden and fellow writer John Martino discussed the possibility of creating a fishing clinic aimed at local youth. After several more discussions, Carden and Martino decided to seek sponsorship. As weekly outdoor writer for the Kokomo Tribune, Carden approached the local newspaper for their support. Martino, working for the City’s Parks and Recreation Department, approached the former mayor for his department's support.

Kim Stricker, John Martino, and Danny Stricker

Both organizations thought it was a great idea and pledged their sponsorship. The rest is history. This week commemorates the program's 29th year and my son, Danny and I were proud to take part. The opening "general session" of the two week long program takes place in the local high school auditorium where Danny and I conducted a captivating underwater video presentation to the 135 youth participants and as many parents and grandparents. Our goal was to instill an appreciation and respect for the aquatic ecosystem and all it has to offer. We were appreciative, as well as flattered, that the presentation we produced was so well received.

Kim Stricker, John Martino, and Danny Stricker

The overall success and uniqueness of the Kokomo Kid’s Fishing Clinic has not gone unnoticed. In 1999, the popular youth program attained national attention by receiving induction into the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame as the top youth fishing program in the United States. Then in 2008, the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns selected Kokomo’s Kids Fishing Clinic as the top outdoor oriented youth program organized by a municipality.

Co-founder John Martino, Kokomo’s Superintendent of the Parks and Recreation Department, continues to head up the Clinic but modestly emphasizes that, “The true success of the Clinic is due to the huge base of 150 caring volunteers who serve as instructors and boat captains. This group takes great pride in helping pass on the great tradition of fishing to our local youth.” Everyone involved with the Kid’s Fishing Clinic shares the belief that the program teaches children about life in general, and fishing in particular. As "Moose" often said, "You show me a child who enjoys fishing and our environment, and I’ll show you a child with respect for our great outdoors and other people as well. These are the kids who mature into reputable adults."

On January 10, 1990, cancer claimed the life of "Moose" Carden. Co-founder and director John Martino changed the name of the successful Kokomo Kid's Fishing Clinic to the Jim "Moose" Carden Kid's Fishing Clinic to honor the memory of his long time friend, fellow writer and fishing partner.

Kim Stricker

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