Celebrating community and youth

3 weeks ago

To the editor:

This past Saturday, June 1, Mantle Lake Park was the heart of an uplifting community tradition — the Presque Isle Elks Club Annual Youth Fishing Derby. With clear, sunny skies setting the perfect backdrop, families from all walks of life came together to celebrate this early summer event.

The scene was idyllic. Children cast their lines into the warm lake from every direction, filling the park with laughter and excitement. Trails across the lake, the concrete dam and the wooden footbridge all became prime fishing spots. As my 4-year-old daughter negotiated her fishing pole and marveled at the worm wriggling on the hook, I was struck by a nostalgic sight — a young boy, probably around 11 years old, wading into the lake up to his knees with a small net. He was capturing frogs, adding to his collection of five or six perched on a nearby rock, which he playfully commanded to stay put while he went back for more.

The event demonstrates the Elks Club’s mission to build stronger communities. For the past three years, I’ve eagerly anticipated this day, waking my kids early with the promise of a day at the park, maybe a free fishing pole, and the joy of being surrounded by countless other children. This annual derby is made possible through the generous spirit of our local Elks, whose dedication to fostering community spirit is truly commendable.

The Presque Isle Elks Club Annual Youth Fishing Derby is more than just a day of fishing; it’s a testament to the power of community and the joy of seeing our youth come together in such a positive, engaging environment. Here’s to many more years of this wonderful tradition.

Griffin Goins
Presque Isle