Although the population here in Minnesota continues to increase, the number of fishing licenses sold each year has appeared to plateau. There is a general worry amongst some that when the “baby boomers” generation starts to decline so will license numbers, and with that, so will the money for conservation.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources began spreading the word about the potential for grant money to those who could come up with programs to help get children more involved in the outdoors. This caught the attention of Princeton resident, Faith Connors, who was no stranger to the outdoors in her childhood and in passing it along to her own children and instilling the same passions with them.
“I saw the ad in our local newspaper for those willing to write a grant to start a hunting or fishing program and thought that would be fun to take my son Luke and maybe some of his Cub Scout friends on a big fishing adventure,” said Faith.
Upon further research Faith found that not only was the DNR encouraging children in the outdoors, but also women and she had the perfect audience with other Cub Scout moms. With her background in education, Faith used the I, We, and You approach “it really means I teach you, we go do it together, and then give you the tools and equipment to go do it on your own.”
From there, Moms & Minnows was born…
“We submitted our grant last fall and it was picked as one of the ten programs in the state to receive funding and proceed with their program this year.”
What started as a way for her son and friends to enjoy the outdoors quickly grew to a program that will be taking seventy people to Lake Mille Lacs for a guided launch trip. In fact, Moms & Minnows has become so popular that there is actually a waiting list for those who would like to attend.
“We have had classes taught by experienced anglers (including Champions Tour’s own Scott Bonnema and Paul Neumann) we had a big drawing to give away about a thousand dollars’ worth of fishing gear to the moms and once we get back from our trip to Mille Lacs we will give every single one of the kids a fishing rod, reel, and a tackle box with some lures in it.”
The new anglers have learned everything from how to tie a knot, to how to find walleyes on Lake Mille Lacs where they will be fishing out of Hunter Winfield’s resort. With a little help from the Women Anglers of Minnesota group, and the Boy Scouts of America to spread the word and help with the event setup Moms & Minnows is looking to be a very special experience for some very lucky new anglers.
Faith is taking it one step at a time and focused solely on making this first event as successful as possible, but says she’s very excited about the future possibilities. “We’ve had a lot of positive feedback and people asking how they can get involved next year, I don’t have a set plan, but I’m excited to see where it could go.”
Moms & Minnows on Lake Mille Lacs is already making waves and it appears the best is yet to come for Faith Connors and her great program.