About 200 people participated in the annual Senior Fishing Day – 50 who took to the water and either tried their hand at fishing or just enjoyed time on the pontoon and about 150 who attended the fish fry.
This year's 34th annual event, now known as a memorial to Arlene Bosek, took place July 18. Bosek was instrumental in organizing and coordinating the event for more than 20 of the 34 years. She passed away nearly two years ago from injuries sustained in a car crash Aug. 5, 2017.
"I appreciate the intentions of my grandma, the Jim and Julie Bosek family and the Vikings Sportsmen to make this event possible since its inception and couldn't be more honored to be a part of it and continue the legacy for years to come," said Samantha Beckman, granddaughter of Arlene Bosek. Beckman is the vice president of marketing for Knute Nelson, another sponsor of the event.
Although the event is certainly a day about fishing, Beckman said it is also more than that. She said it's about bringing generations together to reminisce about old memories and to create new memories.
"There are many rewarding experiences gained from this event," Beckman said. "Not only is it about providing resources for seniors to go fishing hassle free and/or enjoy a delicious fish meal, but it also creates an experience for young 4-Hers to volunteer with the seniors and go fishing themselves, some fishing for the first time ever."
During this year's event, Beckman said there were many parent/child pairs, which she said was a fun way for families to spend quality time together.
"The inter-generational connections including laughing together, cheering on one another, putting a worm on or helping take a fish off the hook, fish kisses and the story telling are the most heart-warming and fun to be a part of," said Beckman. "The event is possible because of volunteerism and donations. The outpouring of support from the community is humbling and on behalf of the entire Senior Fishing Day group, we are so thankful."
Dorothy Luoma, 86, who lives at Grand Arbor in Alexandria, was one of the participants. She was accompanied by her daughter, Vicki Paulson. Paulson said the two of them still fish during the summer months as her mom loves to go fishing.
This was the first time for the mother-daughter duo taking part in the Senior Fishing Day. Paulson said it was a great day and that both of them loved the time spent on the water.
"It was a beautiful opportunity for seniors to be able to fish or just get out on the water," said Paulson. "My mom loved it and is already excited for the next time."