The sunshine glistened off North Park Lake May 11 where 175 participants spent the morning enjoying the Brunswick Optimist Club Fishing Derby, an annual family-oriented event that children of all ages and their parents eagerly look forward to each spring.
Clusters of people comfortably situated themselves completely around the lake and caught fish that were donated by the Optimist Club. The excitement was high each time a child ran to the pavilion with a catch; there was no limit to how many they could reel in because the children returned the fish to the lake after being acknowledged and rewarded.
The lucky first four children who caught fish - Kaya, 13, Teri, 10, Brandon, 11, and Harper, 16 - were recognized with trophies. Because of age, this derby will be the last in which Harper will participate as a fisherman, but he plans to return next year as a volunteer to help at the event.
Optimist Club members kept the hot dogs coming off the grill for people to enjoy as they spent a relaxing break at the lake. Optimist Tim Smith wrapped up the two and a half hour event by first asking President Dean Holman to remind the crowd about the club's goals and countless outreach programs that have been helping so many in the local community since 1986.
Holman, a member since 1991, reviewed the many ways Optimists consistently serve the area through many events such as this fishing derby, youth appreciation lunches, oratorical and essay competitions, back to school rallies, and childhood cancer banks. While bringing out the best in children is the club's main focus, it also reaches out to families as well.
Smith then began drawing tickets for a host of (out)door prizes that were presented to hopeful participants. Most were fishing-related in some way, including several fishing rods; many were donated by local businesses.
The Brunswick Optimist Club meets at 6:30 p.m. the first and third Wednesdays of each month in the pub area at Danbury Senior Living, 3430 Brunswick Lake Parkway. Anyone interested in joining them is welcome. For additional information, visit the website at www.optimistclubofbrunswick.weebly.com, or call 216-551-8225.