The annual event is also an educational tool for Cal U students.
Students from Dr. Candice Riley’s recreation program planning and evaluation course have been helping to make a successful collaboration between the University and community even better.
The 24th annual Pike Run Youth Fishing Festival is set for 8 a.m.-3 p.m. April 27 at Rotary Park, off Route 88 (Third Street) in California.
The free event is open to boys and girls ages 15 and younger. A parent, guardian or other adult must accompany children younger than 13.
Registration begins at 7 a.m., and last year more than 175 young anglers cast their reels despite chilly weather.
Riley, who is the faculty adviser for the event, said students plan, deliver, and evaluate the event as a class project. They handle tasks such as marketing, planning games and activities and preparing the site for the festival.
“One of the learning outcomes of this course is to create a successful recreation program, and event planning has become a key responsibility in not just the parks and recreation field, but other fields such as tourism and sport management,” Riley said.
“This class provides students hands-on experience in what it takes to plan, deliver, and evaluate a recreation event, which is important in career development.”
The festival is organized and programmed by the University’s parks and recreation management program, the Parks and Recreation Student Society, and the Cal U Eco-Learning Community, in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, California Rotary, the Borough of California and the California Borough Recreation Authority.
Alex Arnold, a junior majoring in parks and recreation management and history, was the student society’s president last year. He has found Riley’s class to be very beneficial.
“The needs assessment we’ve done, which is finding out what your constituents want, has been extremely valuable and something I was not as aware of previously,” Arnold said. “One of our main goals this year is to provide many different family-fun activities for people to do along with the great fishing.
“The additional help and manpower during the running of the event is also monumental, and it’s something to see how excited the kids get when they start catching fish because they’re so pumped about it.’”
Kids may bring their own fishing gear, or they can borrow equipment from a Cal U student volunteer as part of the state Fish and Boat Commission’s Borrow-A-Rod-and-Reel program.
Expert fishing guides will be on hand to answer questions or help young anglers learn how to catch trout.
The Pike Run Fishing Festival Committee will stock the stream the day before with rainbow, brook, brown and golden trout.
Vendors will sell bait, tackle, food and beverages at the festival, which closes with a weigh-in, prizes and the awarding of trophies.
For more information about the fishing festival, contact Riley at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 724-938-5288, or visit facebook.com/groups/PRYFF.