CAMANCHE — After a successful first year, Fishing Has No Boundaries is returning to Rock Creek Marina and Campground to continue promoting its mission — to open the “great outdoors” to those with disabilities.
The event will take place Saturday at Rock Creek and is expected to have more than 50 individuals participating.
What makes the event successful, said Allie McGraw, Fishing Has No Boundaries eastern Iowa chapter chairwoman, is the volunteers who make it a reality.
“We have over 80 volunteers registered for this year’s event and 30 captains volunteering their time with their boats,” McGraw said. “Some of our volunteers are one-on-one buddies with our anglers with disabilities, some help with managing our dock, serving food, registration and miscellaneous help.”
Fishing Has No Boundaries is a non-profit organization from Hayward, Wisconsin, that aims to teach everyone, despite their physical or mental restrictions, the joys of fishing. It began in 1986, and has since grown to 28 chapters in 14 different states across the nation.
Having two immediate family members with disabilities, McGraw reached out to the national organization, to begin her own chapter in eastern Iowa.
“My father and my older sister have disabilities and I was looking for something that I could do to allow both my family and others with disabilities to be able to participate in recreational and social activities,” McGraw said. “I stumbled upon Fishing Has No Boundaries and felt that it was a perfect opportunity for our local community.”
Once she was able to organize the chapter, she reached out to Rock Creek in Camanche to see if they would accommodate the event, which takes place in correlation with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ free fishing weekend.
Growing up in Clinton County, McGraw would spend weekends with her grandfather at Rock Creek, doing none other than fishing. To her pleasure, the Clinton County Conservation Group, which runs Rock Creek, was more than happy to host the event.
“Rock Creek has allowed us the use of their facilities for the day of the event as well as for chapter meetings,” McGraw said. “It has made many modifications and added so much to the area over the past few years (making it) handicap accessible, which leads to a great location.”
As she and the rest of the organization gear up for the second year, it’s hard for her to not look forward to what can be accomplished if the event continues to grow.
While growth means larger groups of participants each year, the ultimate goal for McGraw is giving everyone involved an afternoon of fun.
“We are hoping to have a fun-filled day of fishing and boating, as well as making long-standing relationships with our participants and their families,” McGraw said.
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