This spring, Elite Series pro Keith Poche is joining his sponsor Bonnie Plants in getting kids outdoors and in the family garden. Poche has been towing his tournament boat to several elementary schools in his home state of Alabama, giving out free cabbage plants, signing autographs, and taking pictures with the children. During his visits Keith has been able to speak with the students about how hard work and dedication will help them succeed in the future and with growing their cabbage plants. These are not just any cabbage plants, but "oversized" cabbage plants that can grow bigger than a basketball and tip the scales at nearly 40 pounds.
"Getting these kids outdoors promotes exercise, and they learn so much about nature and the environment," says Poche. "I tell them how hard I work out on the water to catch the biggest fish in the lake, and that each one of them will have to work extremely hard to grow the biggest and the best cabbage possible. It has been a blast traveling to schools, meeting these kids, and seeing the smiles on their faces."
More than 1.5 million 3rd graders in 45 states will participate in the 2011 Bonnie Plants National Cabbage Program. Cabbages plants are delivered coast to coast to students whose teachers have signed up to participate. Students in these 3rd grade classrooms each get their very own cabbage to plant, take care of, and harvest. At the end of the season, teachers from each class will select the student who has grown the "best" cabbage, based on size and appearance, and submit entries for a statewide drawing. First launched in 1995, the Cabbage Program awards a $1,000 scholarship to one student in each participating state, to be put toward their education.
"These kids have the opportunity to win big money, just like the pros out on the water, if they are successful," said Poche. Green thumbs and perseverance can pay off, providing participating children with a great sense of pride and accomplishment, a huge cabbage, and, for the lucky winners, the beginning of an educational fund for college.
To see the 2010 winners and learn more about the Bonnie Plants National Cabbage Program visit www.bonnieplants.com. To learn more about Keith Poche and follow his progress through the 2011 season, please visit keithpoche.com.