Water Ways
Ray Pendleton

Time for Goodwill boating

Do you own a boat? Almost any kind of boat will do: a sailboat, a powerboat, a trailered boat or an in-the-water boat.

If you have one, and volunteer half a day, I guarantee June 5 will be a day you will remember for the rest of your life.

On that day, Goodwill Industries of Hawaii and the Hawaii Yacht Club hold their 16th annual Goodwill Fishing Tournament and as usual, they are inviting 70 or more Goodwill clients to take part in the contest.

If you have never been involved in this tournament, you have surely missed something special.

First, there are the clients, referred to Goodwill because barriers to employment, such as developmental, physical, emotional or mental disabilities, have personally challenged them.

And vocational or economic hurdles like job layoffs, limited work experience or welfare dependency may also have been a part of that challenge.

These clients are people of all ages who now receive occupational training from Goodwill, where they are given the opportunity to learn skills in computer operation, food service, industrial/custodial operations and retail sales.

But for one day a year, at least, these hard-working clients become avid anglers. And that's where you boat owners come in.

It's difficult to adequately describe the clients' excited anticipation when they arrive at the yacht club -- each one beaming ear to ear and ready to don a life jacket, grab a fishing pole and climb aboard a boat.

And their excitement only grows once they are aboard your boat, floating over the offshore reefs and making hook-ups.

Using stale bread crumbs to attract the fish, it doesn't take long before nearly every angler is gleefully reeling in some sort of colorful fish and some helpful crew member is slipping it into a water-filled plastic bag to keep it alive.

Somehow, the "stop fishing" order always comes way too soon for most of the anglers, but then the weigh-in, one of the most delightful times for an observer of the tournament, begins.

Imagine watching as each client anxiously waits as his or her precious catch is pulled from its life-preserving bag, somehow weighed, measured, identified as to species, and then returned to its natural environment.

I doubt these anglers would be more proud if their reef fish were 500-pound marlins.

Naturally, a couple of hours of arduous angling are bound to create a hunger, so once the weigh-in is completed, a lunch of barbecued burgers begins.

Then, as no fishing tournament is complete without its winners, and this tournament believes in no losers, every client receives a prize of some kind, with special attention given to the biggest, longest, smallest and most colorful fish.

If you're a boat owner and all of this sounds like more fun and satisfaction than you've been getting out of your vessel lately, just pick up your phone and call the HYC's Barbara Silvey at 926-0250. You'll be glad you did.

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Ray Pendleton is a free-lance writer based in Honolulu. His column runs Saturdays in the Star-Bulletin. He can be reached by e-mail at raypendleton@mac.com.

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