A Syracuse minister/community activist is teaming up with New York B.A.S.S. Nation to hold a fishing derby for inner-city kids this month on Oneida Lake.
The Steezo Fishing Derby — hosted by the Steezo Sporting Club and the New York B.A.S.S. Youth program — is set for Aug. 15 out of the Lakeshore Marina.
The event, open to young anglers in the Syracuse inner-city area, will feature two flights of young anglers (ages 9 to 19) going out on the lake in boats driven by volunteers. Some will go out from 8 a.m. to noon; others from 1 to 5 p.m.
Organizers said the the event is hopefully the first in series, with plans to tentatively hold fishing derbies for inner city kids in Rochester and Buffalo, said Chris Misciagna, youth director for New York B.A.S.S. Nation.
The Steezo Sporting Club, started by the Rev. Mark Harris, was dedicated to his son, Mark Harris Jr., who was murdered in Syracuse on July 28, 2000. The boy, 17, was his father’s fishing and hunting partner. His nickname was “Steez.”
Following his son’s death, Harris, who also owns a masonry contracting business, bought a party boat and ever since has worked with friends to take kids out fishing. The club’s motto is “Mining the minds of our youth.”
Harris is pastor at Keys to Power Ministry, located in the Sky Deck of the Destiny USA Mall. Services are are not being held there, he said, because or the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to the fishing outings, Harris also started a series of barbecues at Westmoreland Park in Syracuse, inviting all the kids and the families in the community.