Pittsgrove, NJ– October 2, 2015. Dozens of Philadelphia kids fished and hobnobbed with Eagles players in FDR Park, Philadelphia, recently as they vied for prizes and christened new fishing equipment provided by The Ike Foundation, a non-profit founded by Pro Angler Mike Iaconelli and his wife Rebecca.
The kids, members of the Mid-Atlantic Youth Angler & Outdoors Program and from the Sports for Juvenile Justice Program and the Tacony Police Athletic League (PAL), paired with the football players to fish the city’s only freshwater lake. The group also learned about local conservation efforts.
In June, The Ike Foundation made its first ever grant of equipment, donating sets of new and gently-used rods, reels and other gear to the Mid-Atlantic organization. Started in January 2015, the foundation’s mission is to “get kids hooked on fishing.”
“If it was not for Todd Pride and the Mid-Atlantic Youth Anglers, most of these kids would never experience the fun of fishing—much less the chance to spend an afternoon with such positive role-models as these professional athletes,” said Iaconelli. “My thanks to the people who donated to The Ike Foundation who helped make this—and future events—possible.”
In the seven years since its inception, Mid-Atlantic Youth Anglers has introduced over 7,500 youth to fishing and conservation activities as part of its efforts to train students for the “path-2- college” through fishing and boating and scholarship-awarding competitions. Over 600 colleges sponsor bass fishing teams nationally, with some offering financial aid as part of their sports programs.
In addition, Mid-Atlantic took steps last year to bring national attention to its work. Over 37,000 youth and fans turned out when Mid-Atlantic hosted the 2014 Delaware River Bassmaster Elite Series Tournament in Philadelphia. The organization became the first youth organization to host a national fishing event, and Philadelphia became the first urban city to host a professional series fishing tournament. Attendance broke the national record for fishing events, and ESPN network and the Outdoor Channel has broadcast the competition numerous times since last August.
For more information about Mid-Atlantic Youth Anglers, visit its Facebook page, facebook.com/MidAtlanticYouthAnglers, or contact Todd Pride at (215) 954-6998 or CoachToddF16@gmail.com. For more information about The Ike Foundation, visit its Facebook page, facebook.com/TheIkeFoundation, or contact Rebecca Iaconelli at (571) 215-4366, firstname.lastname@example.org.