VANCOUVER — A little inclement weather didn’t deter the crowds or enthusiasm at this weekend’s Klineline Kids Fishing event at Salmon Creek Park/Klineline Pond.
The two-day event began in the wind and rain on Friday, but a record number 650 special needs children showed up with their accompanying adults.
“We were going to cancel the event if we saw lightning but we never saw any lightning so we forged ahead,’’ said Bill Czech, one of the organizers of the event.
Czech said the conditions on Friday included plenty of rain and 40 mph winds, but he said that didn’t diminish the enjoyment of the children participating in the event.
“We never had a single complaint,’’ Czech said. “All you had to do was look at the smiles on all those faces. They never slowed down a bit. They were having a blast.’’
Participants (aged 5 to 14 years) and volunteers enjoyed much better weather on Saturday, the second day of the event. Czech said an estimated 3,200 children participated in the two-day event.
According to organizers, this fishing event began with 1,210 kids in 2000, as a program of Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) and Go Play Outside Alliance of Washington (GoPAW). Funds were cut in 2010 and the 2011 event was threatened with closure, when a group of volunteers gathered together to make it happen.
Klineline Kids Fishing Nonprofit became a 501c3 in late 2011. In 2012, the group served 2,400 kids. No child was turned away.
Klineline Kids Fishing gives children the opportunity to experience the thrill of catching a fish and participate in educational sessions, held by WDFW, Clark Public Utilities, Columbia Springs, and others, help children learn more about our natural resources and the outdoors.
“We think our fishing event impacts the lives of the children we serve,’’ read information on the nonprofit’s website. “We see it in their happy faces; we hear from children and parents that return a second year. We see success in increased numbers of children that participate each year, and in the people who volunteer and contribute in some way to make this community event a success. In fact, some of our members have been volunteering here for the last 30 years! In 2012, we were honored to receive a Spirit of Clark County Award.’’