Fishing teaches life lessons in Delaware

DOVER, Del. — Bob Moody works hard to get children outdoors and to be a positive influence on young people, both as the youth director of the Delaware B.A.S.S. Federation Nation and as the executive director of Reel Expectations.

Moody founded Reel Expectations in 2003. It’s a nonprofit with the mission of keeping children focused on productive lifestyles and away from drugs and violence. Participants include kids ages 8 to 17 who are interested in learning about conservation and personal growth, as well as children from neighboring YMCAs and Boys and Girls Clubs. Each summer, participants are invited to a lake retreat to focus on the children’s spiritual development.

“We devote half our time to lessons about violence, drugs, conflict resolution, making good decisions and setting goals for themselves,” Moody explained. “But we also make half the time fishing. We want to get those principles across to the kids, but we also want it to be fun.”

“We try to instill in the kids that there is a basis for being a good human being,” said Frank Daniels, who assists Moody with Reel Expectations. “We really try to emphasize the positive aspects of that as opposed to identifying with a specific religious background. They also learn patience — and a little more about themselves.”

Moody gives a tremendous amount of credit to the Delaware B.A.S.S. Federation Nation volunteers who help take the kids fishing. “I couldn’t do this without them,” he said. He also enlists local teens Shawn Ashmead and Jacob Lorea to help teach the younger kids basic fishing skills, like knot tying and what tackle to use. Ashmead and Lorea, who have been involved for years, agreed that knowing they are making an impact on these children is the best part of the experience for them.

Reel Expectations also holds fishing derbies for children with cognitive disabilities. “It’s one of the most rewarding things we do,” Moody said. “Any kid can fish, regardless of his or her disability. Fishing crosses every social barrier there is. Everybody can enjoy it.”

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